Comic Review: Chapel #1 / Writer: Jesse Grillo / Art: David Brame / Publisher: Bleeding Ink Comics / Release Date: Out Now
Wordsmith, Jesse Grillo, and artist extraordinaire, David Brame, bring us the first in their new ongoing series of mechanical mayhem with Chapel #1. Our protagonist of titular fame is a tougher than tough cop who dishes out all sorts of extreme violence against the robots of his future world. Cyborgs, ‘bots, machines (call them what you will) have integrated themselves into each facet of human existence. Some see out their days as sex slaves, others as mob members, and then there are those who are homeless and search for work in the seedy underbelly of urban life.
After Chapel lays down the unconventional law against a sex-bot, he is given the task of chasing down robots helping themselves at the weapon depots. Chapel roughs up his narcs to find out the word on the street and turns up, guns blazing, at the robots latest heist all by his lonesome - and as a result, gets ripped a new one by the local Superbot. From here things start to get interesting and Chapel’s life takes a whole new turn for the worse.
As first issues go, Chapel has a lot going for it. With David Brame’s art we are treated to page after page of gritty black and white panels depicting Chapel’s dark and gruesome world. Grillo conjures up just the right sense of dystopian nightmare to give it that credible edge, and we are presented with a story that while not being the most original can at least be entertaining.
What lets Chapel down is the shocking lack of character from our protagonist. His ‘beat the living crap out of any ‘bot’ he finds approach comes across as brutal and thuggish. His anger and frustration at the world is a palpable thing, but with no reason why, it becomes meaningless. His arrogance of taking on robot heists alone only compounds the problem. To makes matters worse, we are given almost no back story, and hence no reason why we should care whether Chapel lives or dies by issue end. In fact, the ‘bots are portrayed with more dimensions than Chapel. Yet, one wonders if perhaps this is all part of Grillo’s plan and the story of Chapel is set to be one of redemption and education. Only time will tell.