I never read Grifter before this issue. It was a Wildstorm comic and I didn’t read many of those. Grifter was a character I only encountered when he appeared in other titles, and I didn’t start reading any Wildstorm titles until late in their run.
I have the same problem with this character that I mentioned in the review of DeathStroke, he’s a guy with guns who wanders around shooting people. Is that a fair assessment? I have no idea. The cover of this issue strongly implies it and the contents do little to dispel the impression.
The character design does little for me too. His mask is really annoying to me, it is a tied on bandana with holes cut for eyes. It seems too easy for it to flip up and show his face or shift slightly and obscure his vision. And the kneepads and flak jacket with no helmet seems poorly thought out. Of course, horrible designs have gone the other way as well, like the issue of one of the Batman limited series a year or two ago where a guy shoots Batman point blank in the face with a .44 while Batman is lying on his back on a concrete floor. He’s only dazed because the author had an invisible shield lower over his face at the exact moment of the shots, which is one of the stupidest plot devices I’ve seen. The level of technology for something like that is completely out of the blue. At least this isn’t that bad.
The other thing about this series that just isn’t grabbing me is that the reader has no idea what’s going on. Neither does the main character. This can be a valid way to present an origin, but this jumps around too much. He seems like a normal grifter, if that’s possible. He’s a normal human who happens to be a con man. He starts hearing voices and people are attacking him, we see his reactions, but his reactions seem like those of someone who’s already been a hero/villain/vigilante. He thinks nothing of jumping from an airplane in flight and snapping a man’s neck on the way down into the ocean. At the end of the issue, he’s tying on the ridiculous mask, but it isn’t like there’s a costume or a reason for him to have this piece of fabric that’s clearly designed as a mask.
Maybe if I’d read the original series I’d understand all this better, but the whole point of this reboot was supposed to be attracting people who hadn’t been reading. I doubt I’ll be continuing with this series beyond the second issue. I’m only getting the second issue because I want to give the new titles a chance and because I’ve been reviewing the first issues too slowly.