Review: Gritt #1

By Ben Boruff

My otherwise pleasant life as a comic nerd has been plagued by a dark secret: I do not like Deadpool. I appreciate the novelty of Marvel's best-known quipster—and I enjoyed Tim Miller's Deadpool film well enough—but the hero's gimmicks seem empty, like the calories in a slice of coconut cream pie. Seemingly excessive dialogue can be an effective tool: fictional motormouths like Spider-Man and RWBY's Nora Valkyrie use fast-paced dialogue to highlight other character traits, like teenage awkwardness and veiled intelligence. And some habitual ramblers—Dr. Cox from Scrubs, Robert Downey Jr.'s version of Sherlock Holmes, and the entire cast of Gilmore Girls—are verbal architects, constructing elaborate ideas with thoughtfully selected collections of words. Deadpool, however, has become a popular medley of odd allusions and awkward fourth-wall monologues. Gritt, a creation of Jordan Johnson and Max Milne, suffers from the same aimless wit, so much so that Gritt often seems like a halfhearted attempt to capitalize on Deadpool’s recent success. As a character, Gritt is not a copy of Deadpool, but the first issue of this series does not offer enough originality and intrigue to make Gritt stand out from similar characters. If Gritt's first issue has a moral, it is either too subtle or too obvious to matter to most readers. Gritt, a costumed punching bag, was bullied as a child and spends much of his adult life punching (or being punched by) others, likely as a sort of adult-to-inner-child compensatory measure. The extent to which Gritt's childhood impacts the plot is unclear, but the comic's opening suggests that Gritt's actions as an adult are largely fueled by untargeted angst.

Max Milne’s artwork—a polished series of abdominals and biceps—is enjoyable, but it does not enhance Johnson’s shallow narrative. Milne navigates the plot effectively, arranging panels on the page to match Johnson’s sense of comedic timing, but the images do not add any nuance to the story.

The comic’s original Kickstarter page notes that Gritt is “the character who will inspire you to dig deep and find the hero inside us all,” but I do not want to be a hero like Gritt. I root for other famous antiheros—Dexter, Snape, Batman—because I understand their somewhat flawed motivations, but I am too confused about Gritt to care about him as a character. Like a violent, undeveloped version of Woody Allen, Gritt rambles through a series of blood-filled panels, provoked only by self-deprecation and testosterone. Gritt has potential, but this issue does not offer much beyond clichés and violence.

Score: 2/5

Gritt #1
Writer: Max Milne
Artist: Jordan Johnson
Review copy supplied by