Damn. I knew this landing was going to be tough to stick. Here’s the formula for The Crow, someone is killed and usually they’re killed with a loved one. The Crow selects one of the dead to come back to life on the anniversary of their death and seek vengeance against those who wronged them. Upon doing so they and their loved one are able to rest peacefully in the afterlife. It’s a simple formula that is easy to do over and over because you can always throw in different villains and different personalities for the revived spirit. This series broke some of those rules and it was incredible for it. The thing is, most of the outcome is gifted wrapped for the ending which was a real shame considering how great the rest of the story is. How does this one break the rules? Well for starters the Crow speaks and while I’m not versed in all things Crow, the past two series I’ve read didn’t have the Crow talk. I know this is confusing, but what I mean in this instance is the bird itself. Quite literally the revived spirit is accompanied by an actual Crow which is the spirit helping them with their vengeance. The other rule breaker in this series is that the Crow is a child and so she takes on a very different role in the story and so does their living companion that the story usually has as well. In this instance the living companion does all the heavy lifting instead of the little girl.
In this final chapter Curare as she’s asked to be called, is helping Joe piece together the last piece of the puzzle to help him solve her case. The answer is right in front of Joe’s face, but he’s looked so much and for so long that he’s missed it. His vision has been clouded and Curare helps him see what he’s missing. She looks at all the pictures of her dead body and asks Joe which one is his favorite which shocks him because he doesn’t have one as they’re all very tragic. She gives him a clue and tells him that it’s not what the pictures have; it’s what they don’t have. Joe figures it out with her help as the killer took a trophy… her shoes.
Each chapter/issue of this story has been very different. The first two were narrated and the story was slow-moving, but it built the back story and Joe’s personality. This issue the characters are far more active and vocal. The thing is once Joe has the shoes he takes off running and makes huge leaps in the case with another clue Curare gives him as well. Granted the Crow usually knows a bit more about the person than someone living, but it’s what Joe does with this info. Super sleuth or not, some of it’s a bit of a stretch. I would have liked this part to be constructed better because it would have made the rest of the story fantastic. The final confrontation is somewhat rewarding, but you feel cheated with how they got there. Curare and the Crow’s dialogue are fantastic. They balance each other very well and the Crow in a way maintains Curare’s innocence by dealing with things along the way for her, but in the end… it’s lost for fairly obvious reasons if you consider the formula and subject matter.
The art is still really good. I don’t know if it was the delay in the issue or just the change in structure, but it’s shaky in parts. In the previous two issues the art was in control of the story a lot and felt like an equal member of the tale. With this issue it felt like it was being controlled and guided more. There are less abstract panels or even metaphoric panels to observe and everything is pretty clear-cut and easy to follow. Again, it’s still really good, but I think Dode could have kicked everything up a notch and it would have been as good as the first two issues, had they been given the chance.
Overall this was a decent ending to the story. I think overall the series is really good and will be the only time that this version of the Crow works so effectively. It’s bold and mature and never backs down from the subject matter, but I wish that it had constructed an ending that wasn’t so easy to piece together. By far it’s the best Crow series that IDW’s produced since obtaining the license.
Writer: James O’Barr Artist: Antoine Dode Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/23/13