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Grendel

grendel2Susan Veraghen, this incarnation of Grendel, returns to her nameless hometown riding a hover cycle in a dystopian future. The town has changed. Seedy before, it seems now dead people are hung from transmitter towers to help keep the population intimidated. Veraghen stops in at her former favorite bar, Ground Zero, where she finds people even more desperate than when she left. She also learns from the bartender the reason that people are fearful. A gang called Orion’s Bastards rule the city.

A prostitute named Avril propositions Veraghen in the bar. With a little closer examination, Avril (once known as Martha) recognizes the green-haired woman as a former friend with whom she made out one night. Avril accidentally offends Veraghen, and she storms out of the bar to find her cycle surrounded by gang members who demand she give it over to their leader as an act of tribute. She beats up the various gang members and takes off on the bike with Avril.

While the goons report their defeat, Susan and Avril get further reacquainted at her apartment. Avril admires Susan’s tattoos that adorn parts of her body and they relax together in a hot bath, reminiscing about their past friendship and the night they made out. Susan reveals her time as a soldier and having a lesbian relationship that ended due to political circumstances.

Susan convinces Avril to leave the hellish city. Avril agrees and starts to pack clothes. It isn’t clear why Susan leaves her alone, but the hulkish gang leader Buster accompanied by humiliated subordinates viciously attack her. Susan returns to find Avril and rather predictably, there’s a tearful scene before Avril dies in Susan’s arms.

After burying Avril, Susan readies herself for combat (see image). Veraghen encounters other member beating up two gay men. She in turn beats them up, shooting one in the knee to find out where his leader is. She finds the abandoned catacombs, and walks through an orgy. Finally she confronts him. He downs a fistful of pills to stimulate his strength and rage and overdoses before Veraghen can exact her revenge. The final page shows Veraghen leaving the city and cuts to a close up of a dead Buster with a sign reading “bully” hung around his neck and dangling from a transmitter tower.

Veraghen first appears and is confirmed as a lesbian in Grendel Tales: Homecoming #1

© 1995 and 2000 by Matt Wagner. Published by Dark Horse.

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