"The Dregs #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Black Mask Studios
Written by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Illustrated by Eric Zawadzki
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 28th, 2017
Arnold has put the pieces together and he’s figured out what happened to his friend. Unfortunately, no one cares. Where can he turn with such an injustice? The Dregs comes to a close with this issue with a solid reality check. It’s harsh and shows just how cruel the world can be.Arnold has put the pieces together and he’s figured out what happened to his friend. Unfortunately, no one cares. Where can he turn with such an injustice? The Dregs comes to a close with this issue with a solid reality check. It’s harsh and shows just how cruel the world can be.
I had criticized earlier issues of The Dregs for revealing the hook too early. Arnold may have been pursuing this mystery, but we already knew what really happened. His friend was collected, killed, and eaten by rich people at a new swanky restaurant. We see this in the opening pages of the first issue. Now Arnold confronts these people and realizes how inconsequential this man’s life was to them. They’re justifying such abhorrent violence and literal cannibalism for the sake of clean streets and satisfied hipsters. This is much more chilling than your average horror story.
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Eric Zawadzki has been an absolute master of an artist in The Dregs. This issue is no different. It’s astonishing to see just how out of place Arnold is, not only in the restaurant, but amongst his fellow homeless people and the city itself. He doesn’t fit in anywhere. We actually see this realization in the book as he’s being dressed down by the mayor of all people. His shoulders slump and he shrinks into himself as darkness descends around him. It’s incredibly sad yet rather profound.
There is a rather disturbing scene where Arnold comes to grips with this new reality and how it affects the other homeless people in the area. It’s set behind the restaurant and is cast in a harsh red light, as if from an exit sign. Colorist Dee Cunniffe nails the inhuman tone of the scene here. The rain pouring down all around them is a nice touch too.
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Zawadzki also shows incredible art direction. The Dregs has a cinematic quality, making even a basic conversation between two people intriguing and exciting. Zawadzki bounces between shots, often coming back to the same layouts, albeit with the characters visibly affected by the dialogue, such as the aforementioned shrinking of Arnold. This is some expert-level storytelling.
The Dregs is a powerhouse of a comic, stretching the boundaries of the medium. It delivers a riveting story, unbelievable artwork, and a premise that is just close enough to reality to be absolutely terrifying. That’s the real kicker about the book. You can see something like this happening. It’s not that far off. Plus, it’s set in Canada! Just imagine if it was in the US!