If the title doesn’t already give you a clue, this grindhouse-inspired graphic novel that is set in Kentucky in 1971, pays homage to Beowulf.
The story opens with a heavily armed man heading into a mine shaft, and shifts to his adult son Denny being told of his death. He calls his sister Marnie, who is the leader of an all-girl biker gang, and asks her to head home for the funeral. The two later find out that their grandpa as a teen had been a miner who had accidentally released a monster who demanded tribute, which led to prosperity for the town, so long as the monster was fed regularly. The siblings, and Marnie’s gang, plan to slay the monster and succeed, but if you are familiar with the Beowulf story, you should know what happens next. Much death and destruction follow.
The artwork is dark and gritty and reminds me of Warlords of Appalachia, another rough and tumble tale set in Kentucky. Illustrated in traditional inks, the region and era are evocatively drawn, with a full-page fake newspaper being a special treat to find clues in. I have to admit, this lean story has some major holes in it, but I still came away pleased with the narrative. I’ve been very impressed with some titles that I have read from AWA Upshot, a new comic book publisher, and I look forward to more.