The Crow: Pestilence #1 Review

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This new Crow title has everything you expect: Blood! Thugs! Violence! Retribution! But is it as well done this time around?

TCP1Writer: Frank Bill
Artist: Drew Moss
Color: Oliver Lee Arce
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW
Price: $3.99

Vengeance!

Who doesn’t love a good revenge story? The Crow: Pestilence keeps with the tradition of other Crow titles, featuring a man who was in a bad position and tried to do the right thing for his family. I can respect that. A fairly common complaint of first issues is that there is way too much “telling me what happens” and not enough “showing me what happens.” I can honestly say that is not a problem of this book. Frank Bill says of himself, “I don’t waste words. I write them,” and I can agree with that; it’s an impressive feat for a novelist writing a comic book. That, however, is where my praise ends.
While I am guilty of loving retelling after retelling of some stories, I just could not get myself on board with this one.  Salvador is recruited by Saint Death Cult, a crime organization that’s into drugs and gambling, making their money off of paying boxers they employ to throw fights. Salvador is one of these boxers, but when the time comes he bets all his family has on himself and plans their getaway from Mexico to the U.S. before winning the fight. Of course, he, his wife and his son don’t make it far. They are caught and his wife is raped in front of him, the SDC cut off his ears, and Salvador is killed. The crow brings him back and he is out for blood, so begins our story.

Grit or Giggles?

The Crow: Pestilence #1 cover is done by none other than James O’Barr, the original creator of The Crow. Can I be honest with you? I hate it. It feels sloppy and disproportioned. Admittedly, it’s a personal opinion, and I am not mad at you if you do like it.
The book itself is illustrated by Drew Moss, and the bad news here is that I don’t like it much more than the cover art. While some panels are great and I love them (hello, pages 3-5. You are gorgeous), others I find downright awful (page 1 and most of 10, I’m lookin’ at you, here). The work is really inconsistent, but things I noticed to specifically put a bad taste in my mouth are a) characters when they are in the distance look cartoonish and it just doesn’t work with the gritty feel of the book, and b) at some points after his return to life Salvador looks like a super-scary guy, as he should,  and other times he looks straight up clownish. What even?
The coloring throughout the book is pretty okay, though at some points it drifts into an almost coloring book feel. That doesn’t happen often, and doesn’t stick around for long when it does, though.

One More Thing

It doesn’t really fit into any other category, but I thought I would mention that, in the hard copy, the book is printed on matte, which gives it an older book feel that I personally think really lends to the overall experience, in a good way.

Last Thoughts

I tried really hard to keep this review as objective as I could. I am aware that The Crow has a sizable cult following, and I may catch a lot of crap for my mostly negative review. So, should you go buy the book? Maybe. I will admit that I didn’t like much of anything about the book (read: I hated it all), but when I tried I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. This leads me to the conclusion that it’s really and truly just a person opinion, and you may very well like the book very much, particularly if you have enjoyed The Crow titles in the past.