Review: ‘The Crow: Curare’ #1

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“The Crow: Curare” #1 is a riveting thriller that will bring a chill down your spine. With such a compelling mix of police procedural and crime drama, the narrative will definitely get the reader’s attention. This is a must-read for fans of the surreal, revenge-driven tales, and, of course, for fans of “The Crow” franchise.

WRITTEN BY: James O’ Barr
ART BY: Antoine Dode
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: June 12, 2013

In the dark and empty fields of Detroit, the police discover the murdered body of an innocent little girl. Since the ’70s, Detective Joe Salk has dedicated his entire time to solving her horrible murder. Since he has never found her killer, Salk spends every waking hour tormenting himself on his failure. He has sacrificed his own wife and children, even his retirement, because of the investigation. Now the crow, the spirit guide, has brought back the murdered victim from the grave. The dead little girl begs Salk to try one last time and solve her murder.

Writer James O’Barr speaks eloquently about the horrors of loss and mourning. Detective Salk is unable to let go and move forward in his life. Salk is haunted physically and mentally by the murdered little girl. In the opening pages, O’Barr presents Salk as an emotional wreck who is stuck in the past. Salk doesn’t realize what today’s date is because time hasn’t moved for him. He truly wants to change, but he is still obsessed with the unsolved case.

The topic does become a little heavy because the story centers around the death of a child. O’Barr surprisingly takes the “The Crow” tale in a different direction. The little girl is the victim of a violent crime, but she is more of an echo than a vengeful spirit. Because the little girl is still innocent, the detective is the one seeking out revenge for her.

In his sketchy artwork, Antoine Dode delivers such cringe-worthy illustrations, without revealing too much. At the crime scene, Dode drops hints that the little girl was violated before she was killed. While the medical examiner is doing the autopsy on the dead body, Dode keeps the girl’s face in a close-up. We don’t see the body being cut up by the medical examiner. We just see the wide-eyed expression on the girl’s face.

Dode makes great use of colors as the narrative transitions between reality and the surreal. When Salk is living his normal life, Dode paints the panels with a brown-yellowish tint. In the flashbacks, Dode uses blue and white tones to highlight the police procedural aspects. Notice how the little girl is always kept in the blue and white inks.

A terrific read, you will not be able to put down “The Crow: Curare” #1. If you’re a fan of police/crime thrillers such as “The Killing,” this title is definitely up your alley. I’m really looking forward to the next issue.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis