Review: ‘The Crow: Curare’ #2

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Deepening its mystery, “The Crow: Curare” #2 follows up with another gripping installment. At its emotional core, the narrative is in tune to its combination of police procedural and horror. Driven in sadness and revenge, “The Crow” series continues to say so much about the perils of grief and redemption.

WRITTEN BY: James O’ Barr
ART BY: Antoine Dode
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: July 24, 2013

Since the ’70s, Detective Joe Salk has dedicated himself into solving the murder of a little girl. With his badge and gun, Salk prowled the gritty and crime-infested streets of Detroit for a vicious child-killer. But when the clues led to dead-ends, Salk became too obsessed with this case. In the present day, Salk spends every waking hour tormenting himself on his failure. But now, the crow, the spirit guide, has given him a second chance at the investigation. Salk has one more chance to make things right for the dead little girl.

James O’ Barr divides the revenge-driven narrative into two sections. In the first part, readers are given a hard-edged crime tale where Detective Salk is morally tested. Because this is about an innocent little girl, who was violated before her death, does this give Salk the right to cross the line between good and bad cop? At first, you’re rooting for Salk to beat up the child molester in the dark corner. But when readers discover this is the wrong suspect, you really see how self-destructive Salk has become.

In the second part, O’ Barr takes the “Crow” premise into a different direction. This isn’t a gun-toting dark avenger coming back from the dead. Trapped in the body of a little girl, Carrie is an echo of her true self. Though years have passed, Carrie still speaks to Salk like a little girl because she hasn’t grown up. She’s not there to haunt Salk as a ghost, but rather to serve as a second chance at hope.

In his sketchy artwork, Antoine Dode delivers cringe-worthy illustrations that never stray from reality. At a slow pace, Salk becomes more and more violent as he continues to abuse his power of authority. Dode builds an unsettling atmosphere as he visually portrays how children are easily kidnapped in real-life scenarios. Readers will react strongly to the scenes where the child-killer actually gets away with the crime.

Dode makes great use of colors throughout the narrative. In the flashbacks, Dode uses blue, gray, and white tones to highlight the police procedural aspects. A drop of red is all it takes to heighten the mishmash of colors. Salk’s home-life is drenched with an orange glow, with a dash of yellow.

“The Crow: Curare” #2 is a compelling read that will definitely hook readers. If you’re a huge fan of police/crime thrillers such as “The Killing” and “Zodiac,” this title is definitely geared to your tastes.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis