Sunday, April 15, 2018

Crude #1 Review

Crude Awakening 

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Garry Brown
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Andrew McAvoy

Image is on a wave of new first issues of late and it is great to see a wave of new books to shake things up on the comic book scene. Crude is the latest, and the second Soviet-themed first issue from Image this week (see also The Dead Hand). With news headlines as they are the publisher has caught the zeitgeist. Now pass the vodka while we delve into Crude.

I have to say that this was one of those issues that made me grateful for the book description in solicits. The problem with reading without the description is that the book has two qualities that, for me at least, made it hard to follow. Firstly, the jumps between periods of time. By my count, there are 8 time jumps across a period of 15 years. This made the narrative development hard for me to follow. Secondly, the style of Garry Brown's art. There wasn't enough done to distinguish between the time periods in terms of simple things like how much a character has aged. I couldn't really tell much difference between the Piotr depicted across that 15-year span. This exacerbated the confusion of the time jumps.

Elsewhere there was a barrage of names, all in Russian which was hard for my simple mind to process. Many of the characters looked the same, and because of the art style, I found it really hard to work out if Piotr was talking to his son or his brother in one of the scenes I was reading outside the cathedral. Now, having said that once I read the book description, and then reread it made a little more sense but there were also extraneous side stories such as the menage et trois, which could probably have been cut and left for another later issue.

Now maybe you are much cleverer than I am and think, oh well it was perfectly straightforward and easy for me to follow. If that's the case then I salute you. I think however a lot of readers would have been better served by a more linear timeline, more heightened distinctions in the art to show an aging of the characters, and a simpler story without all the side notes.

Bits and Pieces

This book was too confusing for me, and the art style - which wasn't bad in and of itself - was not matched well to this style of storytelling. It needed to be made much simpler, which would have established solid foundations, and a better feel for the core issues, before branching off into more avenues in later issues if required. As it stands it wasn't an awful book, but it wasn't great either. Some nice coloring work from Lee Loughridge deserves a mention, and the color was well deployed and was a strength of the issue.



  1. I too was a bit confused for first half of the book with dialogue and jumping timelines but once I got into it then I found the premise interesting and different and second half flowed a lot smoother and by the end I was intrigued enough to want to read the next issue. The manage-a-tois was a key part of story as the son had to live a lie about his sexual tastes as society wouldnt accept them just as father had to live a lie about his job. His sexual tastes are the motivation for him to leave the town so he can find the freedom to be who he wants to be. Basically its a story about limits of sexual freedom in Russia (or at least thats how it seems set up)

    1. Interesting idea but executed very very very poorly.