Grass Kings Vol. 1
Matt Kindt, writer; Tyler Jenkins, illustrator
BOOM! Studios, 2018
The Grass Kingdom is a small secessionist community, intent on living their lives free of government influence. They occupy a plot of land with a long history of residents willing and able to fight for ownership: the story opens with scenes from 1450 A.D. to 1950, before moving to the present. These scenes recur at the opening of each issue, establishing a pattern. Now the main conflict appears to be with the nearby town of Cargill, and a Sheriff Humbert who is anxious to bring the Grass Kingdom into his jurisdiction.
This is very much a character study, centering around the three brothers who run the Kingdom. Eldest brother Robert is in charge--at least technically--but has been out of it for a few years, after losing his daughter and having his wife leave him. Bruce is the sheriff, and youngest brother Ashur is assigned responsibility for keeping tabs on Robert, which mainly consists of seeing that he is OK and is not too drunk to function.
When a strange woman washes up on the beach, Robert takes her in. And when she says her name is Maria, and admits to be Sherrif Humbert's wife (on the run, attempting to escape him and Cargill), Robert must decide if he should grant her sanctuary, despite the risk to the Grass Kingdom. His decision sets the two communities into direct conflict, leading to what can only be described as a war, as armed intruders from Cargill are ejected by an armed response from the Kingdom (they even have an air force of sorts).
The situation is far from resolved at the end of Part One. But Robert makes peace with his estranged wife. And Bruce speaks with Humbert. Which does not put the conflict to rest, but Humbert reveals something about his investigation of a serial killer years ago. Signs point to the killer living in the Grass Kingdom, so Robert may be right about his daughter's disappearance.
The story is small and rural, but the characters are rich, and the first part of it leaves many open questions. Kindt's writing is rich and true, and Jenkins' illustrations give it an impressionistic painted voice. I look forward to reading more.
This is one of my favorite contemporary series. You don't say how many issues the first volume comprises, but one more volume will probably complete the series. IIRC it lasted 15 issues.
The first trade contains Issues #1-6, and there's already a second trade with Issues #7-11. It appears that Issue #15 is the last, so I expect a short third trade.