Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lost in the stacks. (Crush)

I love comic books. I've been collecting for roughly the last decade. However, I'm not drawn toward traditional titles. Somehow, I gravitate toward limited run titles. These comics, more often than not, fall through the cracks and are forgotten, lost to time. This column aims to shine a light on these titles and, hopefully, make them some new fans...or draw out the old ones.

As a school outcast with boozy, boorish trailer park parents, Liz isn't exactly living a charmed life. That changes when, on her 18th birthday, she casts a spell to take revenge. Funny thing is that it may have unleashed a creature that was always under the surface.

I think that, more than any comic I've reviewed so far or will review (save one or two exceptions), "Crush" is dark. Not depressing, mind you, but dark. Whether through maulings, explosions or shootings, several characters end up dead. As dark as the comic is, one can't help but be drawn into the story. The mystery angle that emerges is incredibly fascinating, enlivened by striking artwork.

This isn't to say that the darkness precludes a sense of humor. In particular, there's a gag at the end of issue three that...well, Liz turns into the creature (named Crush, BTW) whenever she bleeds and given that she's a teenaged girl...I'll let you fill in those blanks.

And then there's Liz's friend, Jen. As with last month's "Bad Girls", one should never underestimate the power of a wise-cracking BFF, and Jen fills that role with aplomb. Whether standing up to Crush ("She's not a mindless monster. She's just a bitch.") or dealing with a gang of mutated wolf boys (the one aspect of the comic that falls flat, in my view), she's an absolute stitch.

The characters (though not the most fleshed-out) are quite flavorful, from the teenagers at the school and Mr. Cooter, the conspiracy nut next door, to Carl (Jen's brother and Liz's crush) and Liz's parents. Her mother is given an unexpectedly touching moment in issue three when Liz confronts her about a picture she finds.

But what about the other creatures like Crush? What of Liz's real mother? Who is the Man in the Iron Mask and what kind of strings is he pulling? These and other scintillating questions...will not be answered. The series stopped after four issues. Whether this was the decision of creators Jason Hall and Sean Murphy or whether this was forced on them, I can't help but feel...unsatisfied at this. Imagine watching a movie that you're really into, but then the film breaks halfway through and the rest has been chewed up in the projector.

Still, for what is here, "Crush" is well worth seeking out.

Grade: (as part of a larger story) C; (in terms of these four issues) A-

Availability: The whole set is available at Mile High Comics.



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