PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

After a successful first issue, punk horror anthology The Grime returns for another instalment, featuring works from familiar names as well as a few new ones.

First off is another outing for The Nihilist, a mysterious figure who seems to have a penchant for stalking those who prey on anyone weaker than themselves. As he sets his sights on a group of fox hunters brought down by their plutocratic arrogance as much as the trap laden forest that awaits them, you’re torn between wanting to know more about him, while being aware that to truly learn anything would likely shatter his sinister mystique.

Without using the name directly, The Crimson Poker reworks how the expository climax of a Miss Marple tale would probably play out in reality, and is a far cry from the genteel manners of rural England with which readers of Agatha Christie’s mysteries will be more familiar.

Subcutaneous Soft is a brief parable about mental illness, the artwork’s slashes of black pen reflecting the darkness of the tone, but also emphasising the surprisingly uplifting and hopeful statement on which the story ends.

A tale told in reverse, in Decisions, Decisions each page jumps back a week in time, giving the preceding events and dialogue increasingly greater context, until with a final splash page everything becomes clear, with the tacit observation that while important choices might be placed in the hands of those who don’t want them, they still ultimately have the responsibility to make one.

Blinded Part II continues the comically gruesome story began in The Grime #1, featuring a mysterious girl named Cheryl who unwillingly summons unspeakable horrors out her eyeballs by merely opening them. Advancing and expanding the tale with same wry sense of the ridiculous, apocalyptic monster horror has never been more fun.

The Beautiful Day is an ode to anyone who was ever bullied as a child, and observes with unforgiving malice that timid people can only be pushed so far before they begin to push back at an exponential rate, but also points out that those in a position of authority are equally culpable through their passivity.

Ending things on an unnerving doom-laden note is Whale Song, in which the music of the marine mammals is revealed to have had a hitherto unnoticed effect on something in the dark depths of the ocean, and its decline due to whaling could have a far-reaching consequence for humanity.

While not entirely as macabre as the first collection, this second issue of The Grime continues in the same vein as its predecessor, showcasing the diverse facets of the horror genre and the superlative talents of the independent creatives bringing them to life.


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