Resize text+=

‘Crude #1:’ Comic Book Review

On the surface, Crude is a mystery about a father searching out what his son was involved in before he died. This is where we begin to unpack the potential of the deeply resonating drama that this book promises; this father isn’t just going to discover how his son was killed, but what kind of person his son chose to be and how he chose to live. Let’s unpack that a little more: The location for our story is Russia, a place where homosexuality is a crime, where it can be dangerous for a person to walk the streets of Moscow as an openly gay person.

The father and son in this case are both living double lives, neither which the other knows. Steve Orlando, the writer, who absolutely killed it with DC’s Midnighter series over the past couple of years, tells a lot of story in a little time, swinging from the past to the present, building not only an easily traversable web of character elements, but also emotional bonds that most definitely are going to play out as we go through the series. We see that, as a child, Kiril looked up to his father Piotr Petrovich; there was love and a bond. Juxtaposed with this, we see that Piotr is also known as Kolovrat, a Russian operative and a man of violence. As adults, Kiril is secretly living a life of sexual freedom, but he doesn’t want to be held back by draconian laws anymore. The secrets held between them drive them forward in their stories, just as much as their personal needs for freedom and answers. Kiril decides he wants to go to a place called Blackstone, a work camp, where it is said you can be who you want to be.

This first issue is flush with potent energy waiting to be released. I can feel the emotional weight of this story already beginning to take hold. Every line of dialogue and every moment is taken advantage of and creates a sort of raw intensity you don’t often experience in comic books. There’s something very personal at work here. Garry Brown (artist) and Lee Loughridge (colorist) really lean into this. There’s a loneliness, a sadness in Piotr’s eyes, in the way he’s physically positioned in the frames, often half covered in shadows. There’s also a sadness in Kiril’s eyes, but it’s different; it’s a sadness of not being accepted. There’s a heartbreaking scene in which Piotr goes to see his son before setting off to Blackstone himself – awash in blue light, the reaction from Piotr and the repetition of words – this is a creative team that’s not going to let you out of their world so easily, not without taking some bruises yourself and shedding some tears along the way. I’m glad to be a part of the journey.

Creative Team: Steve Orlando (writer, creator), Garry Brown (artist, creator), Lee Loughridge (colors), Thomas Mauer (letters), Arielle Basich (associate editor), Jon Moisan (editor)
Publisher: Image Comics
Click here to purchase.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top