"Grizzly Shark #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Ryan Ottley
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
2016, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on April 6th, 2016
If you've ever watched Jaws and wondered how the film would look if the entire thing took place on land, boy, do I have a comic for you. It's Grizzly Shark! He's a shark...on land. (His counterpart, Sea Bear is currently MIA, but we hope to see him soon.) That's really all you need to know to dive into this comic.
The origin of Grizzly Shark is a mystery and I hope it remains that way. Creator / writer / artist Ryan Ottley makes no mention of how the shark got in the woods, how it gets around without any legs, or how it's breathing on land. None of that matters anyway. Just sit back and watch this shark tear into anyone stupid enough to get a cut or scrape anywhere near the forest.
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Seriously, this thing can smell blood from miles away. It comes out of nowhere to pounce on unsuspecting people. There's a sequence of three pages that are just random killings, each more outlandish than the last. My favorite is the one where Grizzly Shark manages to behead six people in one shot. That's just impressive.
While the violence is over-the-top and gruesome, Ottley's art style keeps it from being disturbing. Yes, it's rather gratuitous, but there's a dark humor to it. Case in point: one of the characters gets his legs bitten off within the first few pages, then spends the rest of the book making jokes about it. When these gore-filled scenes come up (and they come up often), it's hard not to laugh at them. Ottley seems to top himself with each successive chomp of the shark's jaws.
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Grizzly Shark was originally published as a black-and-white comic. I'm very thankful for Ivan Plascencia's colors in this re-released version. They make the whole thing pop, especially the blood. Those three pages of deaths I mentioned above have a great use of color. There are two panels on each, the before and after. The first shot is bright and clean. The second is a red-tinged rectangle of fury as the shark zooms in and rips off some limbs.
Grizzly Shark is such a damn enjoyable comic. I read this with a grin on my face and had several laugh-out-loud moments. That's probably saying something about my sense of humor, but I'm willing to bet that if you're reading this, you're in the same bucket. Ryan Ottley delivers massive amounts of ridiculous fun in these 32 pages. They just happen to be covered in blood.