When Crude Comics sent me some of their comics to review last year, the one I looked forward to most was Nightcall. I’m not sure if it was the cover, the title, or just the mood I was in, but that was the title that stuck out the most. The story ended up being a violent tale that developed interest in its story if not its characters. I recently received the next two parts of the series.
Book 2: Under Your Spell
Once again, the art of Mel Dawdy takes center stage. The issue is filled with close-ups, and most of these shots are very detailed. The book is another violent issue, but anger is not the only emotion seen — there’s also sorrow and moments of reflection. There is even a genuine smile to be found. Dawdy put a lot of time and care in the characters.
There are also many pages that showcase one character, giving the story a cinematic feel. These pages will occasionally have a panel or two that gives an idea of what is happening in the entire surrounding area. Panel placement in general is handled very well. In particular is one page that is a picture of Driver broken into four separate panels. Nightcall is an extremely good looking comic.
Color is also used to maximum effect in the issue. Nightcall is primarily a black and white book, but when there is the occasional flash of color, it sticks out. It is a nice touch that breaks up what could end up being a boring looking book. The story remains to the point with more action but little added character development. If anything, the story is almost less interesting.
Book 3: Pain and Suffering
I have no idea what just happened. The first half of Nightcall was a fine action story with horror elements. While it wasn’t doing anything groundbreaking, it was doing a good enough job of telling its story. Fantastic art was carrying its so-so narrative and the balls-to-the-wall action left you wondering what was next. Sure, Driver was too powerful, but he is the protagonist.
“Pain and Suffering” sees a new artist come in. Neal Anderson brings a completely different look to the book. Whereas Dawdy brought a realistic and dramatic flair, Anderson has a look that seems perfect for a comic book. Unless, it is this comic book.
Characters now have an anime-influenced look, and the book no longer has the cinematic feeling to it. It is still incredibly violent, but now the violence takes center stage. Before, Nighcall was a bloody comic that made you think of a movie. Book 3 is just a bloody book. That’s not to say Anderson’s work is bad; on the contrary, there is some good stuff to be found. Unfortunately, this is not the place to showcase his talents.
Nightcall has never been about its strong narrative or character development. This has been an adrenaline-filled action story, pure and simple. The emphasis has been on the art and what is happening. The need for strong dialogue has not been there since the story has been tight.
Book three is a jumbled mess. There is a lot going on, but there is no reason given as to why. It’s almost as if this book exists in a different universe than the others. It seems like this was supposed to be the culmination of what has been seen leading up to a big finale, but it ends up looking like something went missing between this issue and the previous one.