The Crow : Midnight Legends Volume 5
The Crow is a peculiar story. Is he a zombie? The living dead come back to selectively wreak havoc on those that wronged him? No… no… that’s not it, some dude shoots him right in the head, and he keeps on coming. And he is certainly not a Dracula with all the blood drinkery. No, The Crow is some other kind of half-dead, angry, stabby monster thing, and this particular volume is all stabby with a heaping side of nostalgia.
This particular volume is a recap of the movie brought to fame by the tragic passing of Bruce Lee’s only son, Brandon Lee. And I really believe that is the only reason it is remembered so fondly (other than a truly bitching sound track, anyways).
Shot by shot, scene by scene, this book moves in sync with the film, with the exception of a crow (not to be mistaken with The Crow) that can now sort of talk to the audience. The talking bird does not really add a great deal of depth. However, whereas the movie managed to conjure a bit of nuance, this volume seems to fall a bit flat.
Writer John Muth beats us across the head with overtly bad poetic lines and dialogue a la angsty fifteen year old boy. Scenes jump about at a maddening pace, and characters are introduced only to be obliterated six pages later. There is not a moment spared for character development, and only a moment at best to craft some serious plot (and that is forced upon us with a barrage of truly horrid cryptic poetry.) I understand the iceberg theory, expose ten percent, and leave the remaining ninety to be unraveled by the reader’s intellect. Maybe this is what Muth is attempting here, but holy hell does the ice beneath the surface seem sparse. There really is very little to unravel, to be honest
The art duties undertaken by Jamie Tolagson and Tommy Lee Edwards are a slightly better deal. The crow is a naturally very cool looking character, as evidenced by every douche bag on the planet wishing to be him every Halloween ( shut up, I might have done that once…). So, you would imagine, from the visual perspective, we have something solid to work with. I would strongly disagree. Scenes are a jumbled mess. What transpires from panel to panel half the time left me scratching my head. Sure, characters do have a cool design, and the backdrop is appropriately gloomy, but as soon as the characters are forced into action, the world falls apart in chaotic shambles. I simply did not know what to make of things half the time.
This is usually the point where I babble on about the color work. Usually about how good or bad it is. It really is neither. It’s a bleak world with a bleak color pallet, and colorist Mark Nichols was handed a simpler bit of work. Not good, not bad, he just worked with what he was given and did not make matters worse.
In summation, the story could really benefit from dropping the pace long enough to actually craft a story or some character. The art is fine as long as the characters are talking, but when the chaos breaks loose, the panels fall to shambles. This book does not do a great deal of justice to the legacy of Brandon Lee.
2 out of 5