Or – “Lightning In A Bottle Or Too Many Trips To The Well?”

“People once believed, that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens, that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes the crow could bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”

J. O’Barr’s ‘The Crow’ has returned, and it’s time for your Major Spoilers review!

THE CROW #1
Writer: John Shirley
Artist: Kevin Colden
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Publications
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously, in The Crow:  The story of the Crow is a dense and multi-media tale, the story of a young man who lost his love and returned from the grave (or possibly not) to avenge her against those who took her life.  The movie was a moody and effective translation, which named the protagonist Eric Draven, and spawned sequels that pretty much retold the tale with lessening degrees of effectiveness.  Now, we get the story of a new revenant, in a new world, with a new crow to guide him to vengeance and probably a hit of the old ultraviolence…

LIVING THE OTAKU DREAM…

As much as I enjoy the original Crow stories (as our Podcast discussion showed not so long ago), I am not particularly a fan of the movies, or of many of the previous sequel miniseries.  This particular story starts where it should, with a young couple in love, and an ominous discussion of the number of crows that keep showing up in Tokyo.  It’s unclear if the story takes place in the now or Twenty Minutes Into The Future, but either way our couple is cute enough:  He’s a visiting grad student in Tokyo, she’s a Japanese girl with a traditional father and a job at an evil, soulless corporation called BioTrope (which I can’t help but think is a joke, given their part in the story.)  In the original story, T-Bird and his gang had no reason at all to brutalize Shelley, but this story puts more depth and reasoning behind ominous bad things, which works both for and against the story.  On the one hand, we get to fear the oncoming storm that is moving towards poor, doomed Jamie and Haruko, but on the other, it adds a level of melodrama and future-shocky plot device that doesn’t quite gel with what I expect of a Crow story.

…IN A CYBERPUNK WONDERLAND.

When the inevitable, proverbial other shoe drops, Jamie’s torment at the loss of Haruko is a little more painful than Eric Draven’s (at least he knows, however terrible, what happened to his lady-love), and Jamie’s irrational actions (picking up his katana and confronting those he blames for Haruko’s loss) kind of leave me blaming him for his own demise amid a hail of bullets.  I’m also bothered that his resurrection and Crow-ification feels rushed, taking place in five panels on the very last page of the book.  This chapter starts strong, but sags a bit in the middle as the creators try to give us all the necessary plot points and relationship moments necessary to make Jamie’s transformation meaningful, and end up short-changing the portrayal of his resurrection.  On the art front, there’s a pleasant Matt Wagner influence on the art that I find intriguing, but that doesn’t always gel with the scientific evil of BioTrope’s malicious intent and the multiple laboratory/operating room sequences.

THE VERDICT:  INTERESTING ELEMENTS…

All in all, this issue looks good, although there are occasional issues involving scratchy art obscuring facial expressions, and it gets the job done in terms of telling you what you need to know.  The pacing is a problem, though, and there are some stereotypical/wish-fulfillment issues with the plot as regards the kid in Tokyo with the super-hot girlfriend, the samurai training master and an idyllic life in another culture.  The Crow #1 isn’t a bad issue, just one with some flaws, and I’m at least interested enough to come back next time, leaving the book with a promising 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s a promising start, even if it doesn’t quite match the lyricism and romantic imagery of O’Barr’s original story…

Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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2 Comments

  1. Sydness
    June 23, 2012 at 11:45 am — Reply

    BioTrope! I cannot help but be curious how much subtly hidden humor is hidden elsewhere in the series.

  2. June 23, 2012 at 10:09 pm — Reply

    I’m sad to see that there are so many problems with the book. The premise has such wonderful potential, but I wonder if this was rushed out because a new movie is supposed to be coming out in a bit.

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