Written by Matt Wagner
Art by Patrick McEown and Monty Sheldon
War Child was most likely the first Grendel story I'd ever read. There's a good chance that I'd picked up an issue or two of the old Comico series - perhaps around the Christine Spar era - but this was the first time that I bought a Grendel series each month as it came onto the stands. It is also this series that got me to start digging up some of the older issues, as well as launching me into the Grendel Tales mini-series that followed, some of which were brilliant.
War Child is a very good comic. In it, Matt Wagner returned to the world he (and Grendel) had created. A few years after the death of Orion Assante, the Grendel-Khan and ruler of most of the world, things aren't looking so good. His wife is pursuing her own desires, and using the power she holds over Jupiter Assante, the young heir to the throne, for her own ends.
Then, Jupiter is abducted by a single warrior dressed all in black, the Grendel-Prime. Eventually, we learn that this warrior is doing Orion's bidding, as he takes Jupiter on a trip across the world, trying to keep him safe. Wagner went with a wild action approach for this series, which involves mutants, vampires, killer robots, and any number of other tropes to ratchet up the excitement. He also does a wonderful job building these characters, including Jupiter's stepsister and her guard. Eventually, the grown Jupiter wishes to retake his rightful position, but that is not a simple proposition.
I love Patrick McEown's art in this series. His work looks similar to Matt Wagner's, but there is a looseness about it that helps make the action scenes even more dynamic. I think it's a shame that Wagner hasn't returned to this era of his Grendel story (I'm sick of seeing Hunter Rose), as it's a pretty interesting place.
I really enjoyed revisiting this series and these characters.