That’s right, challenges are thrown down! Our good pal Greg Burgas (or Grape Burpgas when I’m feeling grumpy) didn’t think I would get around to looking at Doctor Crowe 1 before the Previews orders are due for issue 2. But HAHAHA! Here I am!
That’s right, I said that the second issue of Doctor Crowe was offered in the latest Previews, and Greg scoffed (SCOFFED!) at the very notion that I could review the first issue, which I got a few weeks back, before you folks have to get your orders into your local comic shops. And me, I have to get my orders in, and really, I can only control me. But I am proving him wrong here!
Doctor Crowe is offered through 215 Ink, although you wouldn’t know it from their website:
And it’s cover price $3.99 US, although they forgot to print that anywhere on the covers.
Also, it’s a total coincidence that I’m featuring 215 Ink on 2/15!
Doctor Crowe is created by Corey Fryia and Matt Horak (the new Punisher artist, THAT’S why his name sounded familiar!), and Fryia writes all three stories and Horak draws “Wretched” (with colors by Doug Garback and Mark Dale), while Tony Gregori draws “Dreamwaker” (not Dreamwalker by Jenni Gregory, oddly enough!) (colors on that by Joshua Jensen) and Felipe Cunha draws “Till Death Do Us Part”, as well as drawing the cover that I got, both also colored by Jasen Smith. Taylor Esposito lettered everything. Garry Brown did the other cover.
According to Fryia’s site, it was Kickstarted before being picked up by 215 Ink, and it set to run 4 issues before being collected in trade. (And yeah, I should find links for all the other creators, but I’m a bad comics reviewer!)
But is Doctor Crowe 1 any good?
Well, it’s not awful. Doctor Crowe is a doctor who fights the supernatural in a sweet Boschian/Ernst bird mask, presumably in a late 18th century steampunk world. He’s got a young woman assisting him named Nora, who appears to be fairly new to the supernatural world she’s being exposed to.
And the book looks good. None of the artists are bad, they all bring an interesting stylization to the proceedings. Obviously you’ll see Cunha’s art best, as I can show you the covers well, but my crappy phone has to suffice for the other guys (sorry, Horak and Gregori!).
The problem is that the stories are too bland. And too short. We don’t have enough space to really delve into Doctor Crowe and his personality. He seems a well-meaning if bland lead, and there’s not enough banter with Nora to really establish their relationship. We also don’t get stories with much meat to them.
In “Dreamwaker”, we do get a cool looking dream eater, but the story concludes much too quickly for the threat to have felt real.
In “Till Death Do Us Part”, we get your standard ghost haunting an old house story. Again, the solution to the story is much too pat for any real scares.
“Wretched” is a bit better, as we see Doctor Crowe on a mechanical horse and using a geared spider to inject medicine into a dying man. I’m completely befuddled by the story, however. Somehow there’s a werewolf?
These stories have stylish and moody art (and my apologies for not having a scanner so I can show it to you well!), and there’s potential here, but the stories are too short and bland to justify themselves. I’ll consider issue 2 because of the art, and the fact that they had the decency to wait until after the first issue shipped to solicit the second, which carries some weight with me. However, if I have to cut a lot this month (and I probably do!), this one will likely be on the chopping block early.
Also, the comic smells funny. It’s probably from the glossy paper and cardstock cover and the ink, but it smell funny!
See, Burgas, I can too review a comic in a timely manner!