The Crow: Skinning The Wolves is an odd comic. Despite its faults, it’s fun, full of action, says a lot without really saying anything, and what is said you don’t really understand. But what little you do pick up is what makes it so intriguing. With a minimalist script from James O’Barr and some solid, atmospheric art from Jim Terry, “The Crow” succeeds in both setting up a brief arc and drawing the audience in with a solid first issue.
WRITTEN BY: James O’Barr
ART BY: Jim Terry
RELEASE DATE: December 12th, 2012
“The Crow” is set in a Nazi concentration camp, sometime in World War II. (I mean, yes, that should be self-evident, but these are comics we’re talking about here. Nazis can exist at any point in time and space, so the clarification is necessary. Moving on…) As we see helpless Jews being herded out by Nazi officers, one man, missing an eye, proceeds to decimate them before being shot down. Of course, he’s not dead – he’s the Crow. But the Nazis don’t know that. In fact, the Nazis don’t know much about this man, and by the end of the issue, neither do we.
This sense of mystery is one of the better qualities of “The Crow”. There is, as of yet, no clearly defined motive for our hero’s rampage. Yes, they’re Nazis, but there’s an implied history between the Crow and one of the Nazi leaders. The only clues to this are a Wagnerian opera and a knight from a chess board. It builds a suspense leading into the next issues that is palpable without being explicitly defined. Equally as important, it creates a sense of personal attachment to the main character. We want him to succeed in his quest for implied vengeance, even if we don’t know why he seeks that vengeance.
Jim Terry’s art complements the story well, and is appropriate for the setting. It’s highly atmospheric and moody, with deep shadows set starkly against the white snow (or ash, now that you think about it). There are some panels where characters, particularly background characters, tend to look a little cartoony, which takes away from the impact of some panels. But on the whole, he does an excellent job.
That said, while there’s plenty of action and implications for further issues, there still isn’t necessarily a lot that actually happens in this issue. The dialogue is sparse as well, and although that’s not necessarily a criticism, there are certain characters – like the Crow himself – whose dialogue seems rather generic for the most part. Still, this isn’t enough to overcome the solid aspects of this first issue. Definitely worth checking out.
Reviewed by – GeorgeShunick