The first issue of this series really impressed me. It was a huge step away from the Crow’s first appearance at IDW that became muddled in techno jumbo and completely missed the entire essence of The Crow… revenge. This chapter stars a child that has been given the power of the Crow and is completely different in terms of structure and content than anything else done on the series. Without O’Barr’s first Crow stories we would likely never have reached this story, but this series may very well outshine anything he’s ever done before with the character. The issue begins in the past with Detective Salk carrying out a very unorthodox interrogation of a known child molester. Salk has handcuffed Chester in the back seat of his own car around the driver’s side seat. Salk is aggressive and hits Chester with his own shoes whenever he speaks out of turn. It’s a powerful and chilling scene as we find out the way Salk takes care of things when pushed too far. Ultimately he reads the report on Chester and finds that his blood type doesn’t match what was found at the crime scene, but decides to beat the hell out of him for his past victims anyways.
We then see Carrie for the first time alive. The little girl is playing alone in the park when a man not shown to us approaches. Through the art we can see the mood shift as her bunny rabbit is left on the swing set alone, but Carrie is carried away.
Salk checks in at the police station and his boss gives him crap for still working on the case when others need to be solved. Salk goes off on him and especially flips out when the Chief says he’s going to reassign the case. Back at his house his wife has basically given up on the family and as she drinks her dinner their girls dance in the living room repeating “Curare, Curare” over and over after hearing it on a nature program playing on the TV. They ask where their father is and their mother lets them know that he’s down in his secret room. We take a trip through the house until we find Salk sitting alone in a red room staring at the case photos listening to the words “Curare, Curare” over and over above him.
This issue is fantastic. I really could go on and on about it, but the parts I’m not telling you about are so much better. O’Barr has taken a very different approach here than he did with his last mini “Skinning of Wolves”. There are far more visual cues and I want to say that at times we the viewer are looking at it as if we were Carrie’s ghost or her Crow. It’s a cinematic direction, but it reminds me of TV more than film. Salk is a strange character. He completely ignores his family, his own little girls and solely focuses on the case. With this issue he crosses a line that no police officer should, but it’s impossible to feel any kind of pity for his victim given his past. Does that make Salk a hero or just a shade of grey better than his victim? I guess that’s what makes him such a rich character is the fact that you can’t completely root for him or against him. He’s human after all and that’s part of what makes him interesting.
The art is just as impressive as the first issue and continues to play a huge role in the success of the series. Every scene that involves Carrie’s death or leading up to it has a great sense of time-lapse and for the most part no dialog. It’s some of the most powerful scenes in the entire issue. The scratchy line work on the scenes involving our unrevealed killer are perfect and set the tone of the scene.
This is writing and art in perfect balance. The pacing is very different compared to other comics, but because the art supports the story and vice versa they can afford to be different. It works. It makes the entire issue powerful and moving. How can you not feel for Carrie and to an extent Salk as he pours himself into the case and comes away with nothing? No killer, no family and not even his job. This is probably the best thing that IDW is publishing right now and if it continues like this it is certain to make our end of the year list. It you missed out on the first issue I beg of you to find it and read both. This really is sequential storytelling at its best.
Writer: James O’Barr
Artist: Antoine Dode
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: 7/24/13