Here it is: the final battle between Tujiro and Grendel. Tujiro expected Christine, even though he couldn’t sense her. Brian Li Sung is, obviously, terrified. But not Christine.
“I’m patient. I’m directed. I’m Grendel.”
Christine has completely absorbed the mythos of Grendel. It’s a part of her, right down to the cunning. While Tujiro balks and brags, Christine lets him in on her secret: she’s rigged his tour buses to explode, thus destroying his entire slaving operation. And while he’s reeling from that, she has another ace up her sleeve: a water hose, connected to the sink in Brian’s apartment. She hits him dead-on.
Tujiro howls in pain. He begins to change. He tears off his costume, including the human-like facade. He becomes something more animal. His henchman attacks but Christine slices his hand off and sends him running.
Tujiro, clearly losing, turns into … a cat. A ferocious, annoying little cat that flees the apartment. It’s kind of anticlimactic, but it also fits Wagner’s sense of humor. And it allows Tujiro to escape for good.
In the aftermath, the police arrest Brian because he won’t give up Christine. News of the Grendel attack hits the TV news (again), establishing Grendel in the public eye. Christine sees the news report, annoyed to find that Grendel is the villain, not Tujiro whose secret has always been hidden under a layer of innocence.
And what of Christine? In desperation, she turned to Grendel to reach down into the darkest depths to draw on a strength she needed to stop Tujiro. Now, she has to come to terms with the ripples she’s caused in the lives of the people around her. She flees, both figuratively and literally, hoping Brian will understand.
Worse, she thinks she can let Grendel die again. She cannot.
The Pander Brothers bring their A-game with the art, especially with the transformation of Tujiro. Their strength this entire series has always been the triangle of main characters: Tujiro, Grendel, and Argent. They’re on point with the art, which lets the reader enjoy the brief battle.
Christine’s narration is crucial in this issue. She speaks of her thoughts in the moment of the battle, mirroring the cunning and aggression of Hunter Rose. But afterward, it feels as if Grendel’s grip on her loosens. She ruminates on what she’s lost and takes stop of what she still has. We don’t know what will happen next, except that Christine believes she can let Grendel go.
Next: Grendel #8: After the Devil!