"Dream Crasher: Chapter 1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Stealing Fire Comics
Written by Daniel Stalter
Illustrated by Reed Olsen
2015, 38 Pages
In a post-apocalyptic world, young Amalie lives alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. She's tough and wields an ax like a pro, chopping up firewood for the long winter. She survives out here due to a strange relationship with a monster she calls Creature. It's unclear exactly what Creature is, but she says it has her father's eyes and skin. Creature hunts and the two of them eat. That's how they get by. This changes when the monster brings home a live human boy, something that Amalie hasn't seen in a long time.
The design of Creature is the real standout in Dream Crasher. This is a being that should not exist. The first time we see it is in a full-page spread as it looms over Amalie. It's massive in size with extra appendages popping out in odd places. There are a a few additional fingers, some tendrils jutting out of its shoulder, and strange spikes sporadically placed around its arms. It's like a more terrifying version of the Toxic Avenger. Just standing there looks painful for it, like every moment of life is excruiciating.
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Unfortunately, this intricacy does not extend to the rest of the book. Artist Reed Olsen captures the basic form of Amalie and the boy, however his style is very sketch-like, making it look unfinished. A good inker could probably tighten up these pencils to make them clearer. As it stands, there are several pages, especially during an exciting action scene, that are difficult to follow. Two forms are wrestling for life and death and you can't tell who is doing what.
Amalie shines through as a strong female lead. She quickly assesses the situation and realizes this uneasy alliance with Creature must come to an end now that she knows she's not the only surviving human being out there. A plan is put together right away and she fights the beast, even though it has her father's eyes.
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Although this is the first chapter in a 12 part series, it throws a ton of changes into Amalie's life. We're introduced to her status quo, however bizarre it may be, then it's radically altered by the appearance of another person. She is willing to give up the one thing that's keeping her alive out here in the wilderness to do what's right.
If this is how Dream Crasher starts, I'm very curious to see where it's going. Something as horrifying as Creature doesn't seem like the main force in the series. Instead it's just the first obstacle the protagonist must face as she potentially returns to society.