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Gray Cells is A Gripping New Addition to the Neo-Noir Genre

Written by Lawrence Goodman, Gray Cells is a deep, neo-noir dive into a crisis taking place in a dilapidated urban landscape. And what at first seems like a simple kidnapping narrative proves to additionally be a nice little creature feature. Reporter Lina Santos investigates the disappearance of John Glass, soon realizing that what she’s investigating might be a lot more than what she and the local police department bargained for. All leading to a unique graphic novel that covers social class oppression, drug abuse, and crime.

The art of Gray Cells is covered by Kay, who gives this city a gritty feel. Keeping it clear for the reader what part of the city each scene is taking place in. Kay expertly portrays the supernatural/creaturesque qualities of this piece. To the point where some of the images in Gray Cells are very disturbing. Especially as we encounter disturbing visuals of a creature known as the Frogman. A character with a sinister presence and seems to be somewhat the anti-Candyman and anti-Freddy Kruger. The less people that know about this creature the better.

Anyway, Santos, a newly promoted crime reporter for the Stonebridge Guardian, becomes engulfed in this world. Where she sees how an entire system has let a kid like John Glass down. Possibly even more kids. As John is not the only kid to be recently kidnapped in this part of the city. All the while the police are neglecting the strange disappearances. Still, Santos stands out like a sore thumb in this community. And constantly needs to keep her guard up because she never knows who’s watching her. Which could even be people with extraordinary powers themselves.

Goodman does a very admirable job showcasing the horror within this community. Even if it’s a local teacher’s treatment of one of their young students, there is a very realistic feel to Gray Cells. Santos sees the lack of justice in the area but soon begins to realize how she might have to sacrifice her own happiness to dive deeper into this case. As the reader witnesses her in the middle of a troubled relationship, there’s almost a sense of helplessness one the reader’s part seeing Santos make decisions over what to prioritize in her life. Especially since there’s only so much she can even do as a reporter.

Overall, Gray Cells builds a realistically dark narrative around the lore of a nightmarish creature. There’s so many directions that Goodman and Kay can take this story and they’ve just begun to scratch the surface. Goodman and Kay do a terrific job world-building in this text, leaving the reader on a compelling cliffhanger. Santos has no idea whether the legend of the Frogman is true, or if this creature is lurking somewhere in this dilapidated area of the city. And John will finally need someone to give him the support that no one else will. The question is if Santos is the right person for this job!

If you want to know more about Gray Cells you can check out their Kickstarter right here before it closes on December 3rd! Tells us your favorite neo-noir comics and sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

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Dylan FIne

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