Revenge can come from beyond the grave…  even during the Yuletide season.  Your Major Spoilers review of The Crow: Hark The Herald #1 from IDW Publishing awaits!

THE CROW: HARK THE HERALD #1

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist Meredith Laxton
Colorist: Katrina Mae Hao
Letterer: Will Cook
Editor: David Hedgecock
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Previously in The Crow: Hark The Herald: Every year, a group of six people gather for Christmas in a cabin in the far North Woods of Wisconsin.  But this isn’t your average bickering nuclear family: these are six of the most prolific killers in North America.  Now, last year’s sins have risen from the grave, ready to deliver the gift of revenge.  Guided by the Crow, Cecilia Rite will give six psychos a holiday hammer party.

“THE CROW HOLIDAY SPECIAL” MIGHT BE AN OXYMORON

So, I knew this job was difficult when I took it, but… maaaan.  This is one tough read.  Cecilia and her loving dad are out on the annual bow-hunting trip (including her ritual of asking the animal to forgive her for killing it, which is kind of adorable, in a “just killed an animal” sort of way) when they bump into a drunken group of revelers.  One aside comment leads to tragedy, as it turns out that the obnoxious man who bumped into their table is prone to anger.  Flash forward one year, and we find him and his friends gathering once more for their annual tradition, mentioning that last year “didn’t go as planned.”  Apparently, “not going as planned”, as the story reveals a little at a time, includes capturing Cecilia and her dad and murdering them, leading to her return as a Crow this year.  The story reveals, a bit at a time, that they’re not an extended family or a group of coworkers, but in fact six notorious hit-people, each of whom is feared in the industry for their deadly ways…

…for all the good it does them.

IT’S A SERIAL KILLER CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN

Befitting its creator, this story feels a lot more ‘Hack/Slash’ than it does traditional comic book Crow, but it’s an engaging story nonetheless.  Cecelia’s musings on the black feathers she uses on her arrows transitions into her new-found status as undead revenant well… perhaps at little bit TOO well, as it, along with some of the “morals” she imparts to her victims seem a little too perfect and pat.  Still, the idea of a hail of undead vengeance is the basis of any story featuring any Crow, and so this one fits the bill, with some lovely, evocative art.  Rather than Eric Draven’s face-paint, Cecilia has extensive scarring that hints just how brutal her murder was, which combines with her black hair for a really strong visual and the murders, while a little bit tough to look at, are all creatively staged.  If you’re the kind of person who can sign on for a book where a lot of people die because they’re all terrible, then you’ll be happy to know this comic will pay off on that expectation.

BOTTOM LINE: NOT A FAN OF THE ENDING

The only real misfire of the issue is the ending, which absolutely did not work for me.  (In the interests of not ruining the surprise element, I’m going to leave that a bit ambiguous, as it might work for other readers.)  The Crow: Hark The Herald #1 is a Christmas story of undead revenge, so it’s already an acquired taste, but for those who want that kind of tale, this is a good example with strong art and a story that gets things about 80% right, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s not going to be an easy story, nor your traditional Christmas comic, but it has a lot going for it.


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THE CROW: HARK THE HERALD #1

73%
73%
A Fun Take

Cecilia's return from the dead isn't what the original comic Crow's was, but it's still an entertaining comic with 'Tales From The Crypt' overtones and strong art.

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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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