Biz Tips: Review: Crude #2

Biz Tips: Review: Crude #2

Biz Tip:

Review: Crude #2

Continuing the journey into a secret underworld in the heart of Russia, Crude issue 2 from Image Comics is out this week. Our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look inside to see if the second issue stands up against the fantastic opening issue.

Violence and intrigue are the names of the game in Crude #2. The reader is slowly immersed into the gritty Russian backwater of Blackstone and forced to follow the central character as he descends into a world of Hell. But the question is, are the gangsters and corporation ready for Piotr? Because HE sure seems prepared for them.

Photo Credit: Image Comics


On the docks of Blackstone, the strong, extortionate, arm of Petropinnacle is challenged by the young upstarts working for Meshe Adam. The later is starting to get a foothold in the docks, intimidating the stall holders in their unique way. But Petropinnacle isn’t going to give up their turf so easily.

Into the middle of this walks Piotr Perovich, searching for information about his son’s death. He is a man on a mission and one accustomed to dealing with the underbelly of society. At first, he stays on the sidelines, helping out a local after the trouble has left. But he can’t stay out of it for too long as his hand is forced. But who should be more afraid? The organised crime syndicates fighting a turf war in an estranged city or the single man, fuelled with a vengeance?

Photo Credit: Image Comics


The second issue of Crude is a change in pace from the first, outstanding issue, but the central premise hasn’t changed. The focus of the story is on the relationships between the characters who are introduced. The concept of family and the secrets families keep, still casts a shadow over the narrative but the family is now criminal.

Steve Orlando uses Piotr’s entrance into Blackstone as a way of building the world around him. His first encounter ultimately leads to introductions to both of the main antagonist groups in the narrative. This also allows Orlando to show the reader exactly who Piotr is and what he is capable of.

The narrative flows with the inhabitants of Blackstone, firstly following one character and then another, weaving in and out of the streets, mapping the city for the reader. Orlando’s smart structure gives the reader a perfect sense of location and the critical groups/people in the town. It’s busy, it’s hectic, and it all runs on violence and intimidation.

Photo Credit: Image Comics

This organic flow of the narrative is reflected in Garry Brown’s artwork. Brown draws landscapes with the same emotional impact as he does the characters that inhabit them. The sense of fear and the downtrodden oozes from the scenery enhancing the threatening behaviour of the cast in the foreground.

Brown also frames character interaction energetically and excitingly, whatever form that interaction takes. The fight scenes are chaotic but illustrated with a touch of performance about them. They resemble the stylised spy movie fights or martial art sequences more than the street brawls more suited to gangster stories. However, this helps to remind the reader that Crude is set in a secret city in the heart of Russia; it has the feel of an espionage tale and the set up for a vast conspiracy. This is not an episode of Peaky Blinders. It’s a different beast entirely, and Brown injects the art with style more in common with modern James Bond films.

There is one sequence in this issue which Steve Orlando says is his favourite in the series and when that scene plays out, you will see why. It is a beautifully choreographed sequence which illustrates the character of Piotr brilliantly. There is an element of physical change that happens, subtler than a Banner to Hulk change but it is still there; like Fredric March’s performance in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or Christopher Reeve in Superman. Piotr undergoes a physical change which Brown draws superbly. It’s heart-stopping storytelling.

The second issue of Crude seems on the surface like a different comic than the first issue, but the narrative emphasis and devotion to the character still beat like a heart at the centre of the story. It is magnificently drawn with grimy, mode setting colour. This comic is proving to be a winner and should be added to everyone’s pull list.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, but he does remember to write more about comics on his website

The post Review: Crude #2 appeared first on ComiConverse.

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