ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1

Content Warning: Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 contains a scene with a suicide.

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 is published by Image Comics and is written, illustrated, and lettered by Jim Mahfood. Struggling with the recent loss of someone close to her, Dio has turned to bounty hunting to make ends meet. Now, with her hired muscle Turtleneck Jones, she is heading out to gather a new mark that she has been directed to by her trusted friend Gordi. But not everything about this job is what it seems to be.

From the moment you pick up some stories, you immediately know what the tone of the book is going to be. Whether it’s moody drama, or wild adventure, between the art and the first couple pages of writing, the general thrust of the story will be clear. Others, however, try to fuse visuals and writing together that aren’t so obvious. These more unique fusions can deliver something memorable if the execution works. While Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 shoots for this later approach, the shortcomings of its art cause the effect to fail to stick the landing.

While the story that Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 begins is one about Dio’s newest job as a bounty hunter, the bulk of this issue focuses mostly on her past and the loss of her boyfriend. With a sizeable portion of the book taken up with Dio giving the full history of her loss to Jones, the book delivers a fairly heavy, melancholy tone as Dio relives her loss.

While the past feels like the real star of this issue, the current events of Dio’s world bring some well delivered moments that come close to landing as well as Dio’s tragic past. Mahfood does a good job laying out the groundwork for the story to come. By introducing some curious plot points and one significant twist at the end, Mahfood strives to hit the ground running with Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 story. If only the art could keep up.

I feel bad having to speak poorly of Mahfood’s art here. I can see what the artist is going for, and to be fair, they almost succeed. The scratchy, sketched in a notebook during math class aesthetic the book brings to the tale resonates with Dio’s depressed mood and self-described “hollowness.” But Mahfood takes the visual effect a bit too far, sacrificing too much of the book’s clarity in the commitment to the art style. This left me having to pause far too many times as I puzzled out exactly what was being shown in a panel.

This scratchy-looking approach is also brought to the book’s lettering. While it doesn’t hinder the absorption of the story as much as the art, it certainly doesn’t help it go any smoother either.

So, when all is said and done, Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 delivers an emotionally intense story that manages to resonate with its art while also being held back by it. If you don’t mind the look Mahfood brings to this book’s visuals; I think the story could be an extremely strong narrative to get invested in.

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 is available November 24th wherever comics are sold.


Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1
3.5

TL;DR

So, when all is said and done, Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 delivers an emotionally intense story that manages to resonate with its art while also being held back by it. If you don’t mind the look Mahfood brings to this book’s visuals; I think the story could be an extremely strong narrative to get invested in.