Comic Book Review: The Crow #1
I was eighteen when the first Crow film came out in 1996. It hit such a chord with me that it’s been one of my favorite movies ever since.
Well, when news arose that IDW Publishing would be releasing a new Crow series, I was interested.
The Crow #1 is written by John Shirley with art by Kevin Colden, and it brings the classic tale to modern day Japan.
The tale of The Crow is pretty much the same in every incarnation. Like any version of Romeo & Juliet, you know what to expect when you read the title. Well, this Crow is the same: a young couple in love are torn apart by violent deaths. One of the young couple returns in the guise of The Crow to get awesome, violent revenge on their murderers.
In “Death and Rebirth,” Part 1. Yumi is the daughter of a Buddhist swordsman who trains the love of her life Jamie, an American studying in Tokyo. As you’d expect they both find themselves… well… dead.
What works: I really enjoyed the Kaiden aspect of the tale. Bringing in the Japanese approach to ghosts and the afterlife brings a very unique flavour to any of the Crow films I’ve seen.
Also the American in Japan thing is a good way of exposing this westerner to Japanese culture and helps explain the differences in attitude and customs.
What didn’t work so well: this version of The Crow lacks the punch and grit that I was expecting. It also came across a little too sci-fi for my tastes. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the bad guys and their motivations just don’t seem right for the Crow. For a comic that’s based on murder, the whole thing just felt a little… “safe” for my liking.
This issue told the story just fine, but spent too much time setting things up to the point of the protagonist’s actual transformation into The Crow seemed way too rushed.
Like I said, the Crow’s origin is as well known as Batman’s or Spider-Man’s and, even so, I don’t think one whole issue should have been dedicated to getting these characters from A to B just to rush the transformation. The pacing just seemed way too laid back for 30 pages and so rushed for the last 2.
So I’ll honestly say I was just a tad disappointed with The Crow #1. Not enough for me to drop it already. Oh no, no, no! The good stuff (the aforementioned awesome, violent revenge) should start next issue.
So I’m still on board for the next few issues anyway.
And keep your eye out for the limited edition covers by Kyle Hotz and The Crow’s original creator James O’Barr who, rumor has it, is planning his own grand return to his character later this year! That’s something I’ll be interested to get into.