Crude Comics Inc. is an independent comic book publisher with a focus on the creators of the books it releases. The company is an alternative to the major comic book publishers and considers themselves a throwback to more original and less censored comics. Nightcall is an example of this exaggerated style.
Nightcall Book One: Desire is the first installment of a four-part story. Immediately, the Drive influence is apparent: the story opens with a lyric written by Ryan Gosling for his band Dean Man’s Bones. A man identified as Driver proceeds to violently use a hammer on a man. Drive is a great movie, but I do not need to see an unauthorized comic about it.
Thankfully, Nightcall goes in an entirely different direction. The art of Mel Dawdy is the book’s standout. There are many splash pages that include one or two panels that give an overall picture of what’s happening and show reactions at the same time. Faces also have great detail to them. The characters’ eyes in particular are well done. Driver has a remorseful look while others show worry, happiness, and anger. Dawdy’s artwork is a pleasant surprise.
The story written by WRG II and R. Lopez is minimalistic. Most pages will only have a few lines of dialogue. What Nightcall does correctly is developing interest in the story. Possible supernatural elements have been introduced and there’s already a sense something may be wrong with the town the book is set in. There’s also the question of Driver’s motivations, as well as how do Elle’s nightmares factor into everything?
There is some brutal imagery in Nightcall but it never gets gratuitous. This does not mean the violence adds anything, however. There’s not one page that goes by without some form of barbarism. The book has murder, domestic violence, and lots of blood. It’s never quite a case of violence for violence sake, but it may be much for some.
The art is well done and the seeds are planted for an interesting story but nothing in Nightcall guarantees the book will progress. There was no character development in the issue. Driver is a vicious character who may have good intentions, but without insight readers are just witnessing brutality. The other problem is Driver was so vicious that no matter what his motivations, it may be impossible for readers to justify what he has done.
With the exception of Elle and her family, the other characters in the books seem to be in the book for no other reason than to be killed. Even Elle is little more than the generic innocent child who lives in a troubled home. Nightcall makes it difficult to care about any of its characters.
Nightcall Book One: Desire has the potential to be an interesting story. There are plot threads introduced that may take the book into interesting directions. Unfortunately, there is also a lack of character development and a reliance on over the top violence. Nightfcall may end up being a good story, but the first issue shows little more than potential.
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