"Doctor Crowe #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by 215 Ink
Written by Corey Fryia
Illustrated by Tony Gregori, Dann Franco, and Bruno Letizia
Colored by Sean Burres and Joshua Jensen
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 31st, 2017
The supernatural adventurer, Doctor Crowe, returns with more monsters and more death-defying antics. This time around he squares off against zombies, a weird tentacled skeleton creature, and some sort of titan with what might be a cow's udder. In any case, these are beasts that no normal man would want to come across, let alone battle. Perhaps the good doctor got his PHD in monster ass-kicking.
As with the first issue of Doctor Crowe, this one is broken up into a handful of short stories. This anthology format works well in the debut, as it provides a good baseline for the character. Now that it's a bit more established, I was hoping for more of an arc instead of these smaller one-offs. I wonder if we might be getting some of that with an introduction of a new villain in the second tale, “Brigade of Bones.” Could this be Crowe's Moriarty?
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The design of Doctor Crowe is striking and something that really stands out. His mask is part steam punk, part Dark Ages, and all cool. It gives him an inhuman appearance, like he's a robotic time traveler from the future, here to save the world from things that go bump in the night. We get a single shot of him without the mask, almost as if to serve as a reminder that he's an actual man underneath it all. This takes away a bit of the mystery and intrigue that surrounds him.
The different artists in the book each have their own spin on the character, but capture the core essence of him. His mask's beak might be longer here or fatter there, however these changes are not jarring. The artists have a similar enough style and work well in the overall world, so everything flows at a nice pace. You're not taken aback when starting a new story and finding a completely new artist.
Although the artwork looks similar enough, Dann Franco's work in “Brigade of Bones” is a real standout. It has a grit to it, like Crowe is getting his hands dirty dealing with the undead. Franco delivers some gore-filled kills as limbs fly left and right. In the end, there is a pile of bodies, blood strewn everywhere, and Doctor Crowe standing triumphant.
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Speaking of, Crowe is almost too good at this. Although the monsters he faces are terrifying, they present no real obstacle to the man. He confidently steps right up and has the right tool for whatever job comes across, whether that's a zombie or that thing with the tentacles. This might be due to the anthology style of the book, where there's not a lot of room to show him figuring it out or running into new challenges. As it stands, there is no real conflict. It's like he's playing a video game on easy with the villains practically jumping in front of his sword.
That being said, the stories themselves are pretty solid and if you liked the last issue, you'll like this one, as it's more of the same crazy supernatural adventures. Doctor Crowe is a unique hero, standing up against monsters big and small. He joins the ranks of Hellboy, Lord Baltimore, and John Constantine, which is certainly good company to keep. It's safe to say that this is made for any fans of those characters.