ADVANCE REVIEW The Crow: Curare #1

Written by: James O’Barr
Art by: Antoine Dodé

The Crow: Curare #1 stars a lead character I can’t get behind emotionally, and victims that I feel sorry for, not because of their personalities, but because of the gruesome murders they’ve experienced. Every bit of sadness in this book comes from the shock value in its descriptions, not any true character development.

The lead character is Det. Francis Salk, a hardened and lonely cop who we discover is now divorced and lost touch with his family. This story is a classic example of a character that is divorced just because “they were too consumed in their work.” It’d be nice to have seen any of the numerous other reasons couples split up explored in this issue, but instead, he was just too caught up in his job.

The flashback mid-issue doesn’t create any sympathy for the Salk, as we discover the Detective was just as much an a-hole in 1973 as he is now.  We see him needlessly yell and swear at rookie co-workers, doing little to make me believe that the character’s present life is injustice. Writer James O’Barr starts off this sequence with third-person narration, but drops it after a couple pages. It worked in that section, as it made the story feel more noir, so hopefully that returns in future issues.

Antoine Dodé’s watercolour art is creepy and fits very well with what the story is going for. The colours help to produce striking images, for example, the rectangular panel at the bottom of page 7 that shows Salk gaze onto the crime scene. And the little girls playing with the doll, juxtaposed with the narration about a victim of strangling, is quite chilling. If only the issue opened with a representation of Salk’s dreams, that the narration describes, rather than Salk slumped on the couch.

The Crow: Curare #1 successfully paints an awfully grim picture. Unfortunately, there’s no character in the entire issue that I feel any real emotional attachment to. Rather than following the series at the hopes that Det. Salk will make the violence stop, I’ll likely stop the violence myself by avoiding the next issue.

Score: 6.7/10