• The Crow: Pestilence #1

    Released By: IDW Publishing
    Release Date: March 12, 2014

    The Story:

    Back in the late 80's, Caliber Press published a comic written and illustrated by a fella named James O'Barr that told the story of a murdered man back from the grave to avenge the death of his true love. Appealing largely to the nouvea-goth crowd, The Crow sold hundreds of thousands of copies and was subsequently made into a hit film that would become noteable as the film that killed actor Brandon Lee, who tragically died on set.

    Twenty years after the film made The Crow a household name, spawning a few horrid sequels, a mediocre television show, and another couple of runs of comics, IDW presents another take on the story with the help of Frank Bill (Writer) and Drew Moss (Illustrator) as well as a nifty cover by none other than James O'Barr.

    Shedding the whole goth musician schtick, The Crow: Pestilence establishes its seedy setting down in Jaurez, Mexico, where the Saint Death Cult operates a shady business of exporting dope, fixing fights and running local women into the United States where they pay off their "immigration fees" by engaging in prostitution at mob-owned restaurants and night clubs.

    Unfortunately for Salvador, an up-and-coming amateur boxer with a wife and young son, the SDC haven't gotten to where they are by letting people walk all over them. When the promise of a large sum of money in exchange for taking a dive in the third round presents itself, he sees it as his ticket out of a gritty existence, and a chance to start fresh with his family in the land of opportunity. In an effort to maximize his monetary potential, Salvador takes the bribe, but places all of the money on himself before pummelling his opponent into oblivion. The SDC decide to take care of business in the only way they know...and put Salvador and his family down hard.

    The Crow: Pestilence gets a lot of things right in this first book. Setting the story in Juarez gives it the same feeling of grime that the Detroit of the former book had, but makes it a lot more believable that a group like the SDC could function out in the open. Bill has written in a whole lot of debauchery for the introduction, and anyone thirsting for a look at the uglier side of life will be satisfied, while the promise of a vicious but justified retribution hooks the reader in for future issues. The only real flaw with the characters is that the some of the more "poetic" dialogue...which may have seemed more natural coming from a tortured musician such as Eric Draven...seems a little unnatural coming from the heavily jacked and tattooed character of Salvador.

    Drew Moss' artwork is tastefully done, maintaining enough of a connection with O'Barr's style to evoke the nostalgia of the original Crow, while demonstrating enough of his own chops to take the characters to different places without too many glances back over the shoulder.

    The Final Word:

    All in all; a great start. If they maintain the momentum, IDW could have a pretty awesome run with this title.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Dig O'Barr's cover on this. Wish he'd go bazck to doing interiors (though I like Moss' art quite a bit).
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Yeah, the only thing that I found weird about Moss' work is that one shot of the kid in the foreground playing with his toys. Are Salvador and his girl related? Cause that kid looks inbred. :D