I have to admit after reading the last Crow outing, I pretty much had written off the franchise. A couple weeks ago after re-watching the original Brandon Lee film, I had a nostalgia boner and did some googling up on the comics. In high school, I was a Crow fanatic and pretty much read all the comics and the movies until the diminishing returns became too soul-crushingly disappointing to bear. During my internet searching, I came across this new Crow book, The Crow: Curare, about a little girl coming back for vengeance and assisting the cop who investigated her murder.
The discovery led me back on board the CROWWWWWWW TRAINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. Written by series creator James O’Barr and drawn by Antoine Dode, the book focuses on Joe Salk, a hard-drinking pot bellied, balding slob who lost his family and his job on a downward spiral of depression after the case of a nameless raped and murdered girl is found in the park. His obsession is still on going years later and he keeps a room full of notes and pictures to help him solve the case. He gets an unlikely break in the case, the dead girl herself. During his investigation he decided to name the girl Carrie and she introduces herself as Curare, a type of poison. Together and aided by the Crow, they set out to make the wrong things right.
Despite being trope-a-riffic, it’s a solid comic. The way the identity of the perp is discovered is a bit unsatisfying, but overall this is the best Crow story since the original. Dode’s artwork is filled with nice little touches, such as a hospital scene where Joe is going to see a dying colleague for some answers about the case. Curare is seen the background playing with a sick boy. Shockingly, this is the first Crow tale with the character isn’t morbidly depressed. Curare, despite what happened, is a cheerful little girl, which drives home the tragedy of what happened to her. By contrast, Salk has been driven to the edge to solve the case and has suffered immensely because of it. When he first meets Curare, he falls to his knees, sobbing in front of her apologizing that he couldn’t find her killer. She simply hugs him sweetly and tells him It’s okay.
The biggest problem with this book is it’s way too damn short. It feels rushed and there is much more that could be done with the story, and more importantly, I wanted to spend more time with these characters. If you’re like me and have been longing for a good Crow story, this is a good place to come back to. James O’Barr likes to eat with the lights on so we can safely assume there will be more stories coming down the pike; let’s hope they are as good as this one.
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