Review: Grim Leaper / Writer: Kurtis J Wiebe / Art: Alusio Santos / Publisher: Image / Release Date: Out Now
With Image Comics' Grim Leaper, Kurtis J. Wiebe offers up a refreshingly original love story that is equal parts gruesome, hilarious, and beautifully tragic. Aluisio Santos' bold lines and sparse color palette brings Wiebe's story to life, creating a world that is brutally realistic yet still fantastical. In this "gory romantic comedy," series protagonist Lou Collins is a cursed man. For reasons unknown, Lou is trapped in a vicious cycle of death and regeneration. We first meet Lou as he tries (and fails) to get lucky at his own funeral - his thirteenth, to be precise. Upon leaving, Lou meets his fourteenth untimely end, only to be sucked back into a deliciously inventive Purgatory, where monstrous portraits devour the souls of the cursed.
Upon his resurrection, Lou finds himself in a special kind of hell: a dating show. Lou deals with his endless string of bad luck with wry resignation until he crosses paths with the similarly cursed Ella. Sparks fly but since it's just that kind of story, their time together is cut short. In the issue's most cleverly designed set of panels, Ella bites the dust just as Lou realises it's love at first sight.
The cherry on top of this delightfully gruesome cake is Joey Esposito's Drive Time Commute, a short feature about two ill-fated lovers that manages to be both adorable and cruel. Together, these "love stories to die for" leave you feeling like the wait for issue #2 will be the worst kind of Limbo.