Crowded #1 Review
Story by Christopher Sebela
Art by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt
Colors by Triona Farrell
Review by KrisK
What if the gig industry evolves too far? Steady employment starts to die out, and instead, we work for an hour or two at a time for several apps? Including contract killing? In Crowded, Charlotte Ellison has a hit put out on her on a crowdfunded murder app called Reapr. The bounty climbs over a million dollars, and now Los Angeles residents want the bounty. She hires a body guard, Vita, off of the Dfend app, and they try to survive the constant onslaught of murderous neighbors. They both keep secrets, the biggest being why so many people are willing to put up so much money to kill Charlotte.
First of all, the pacing in the story is stellar. Sebela assisted in writing Detective Comics, and the experience shines through every page. The comic toes the line between Odd Couple buddy comedy and thriller quite well. The jokes flow organically, and they never detract from the tension. Though, Charlotte is not the easiest character to love, but Sebela writes her as a real person. She probably deserves the bounty; she plays a game of subterfuge and deception with her bodyguard. The murderous citizens amuse me to no end. None of them, yet, are professional assassins, but instead, they are janitors, little old ladies, and soccer moms.
Also, Stein and Brant’s art melds with the story. The way, SPLASH is worked into the coffee thrown into a would be murderer’s face, is subtle enough not to overpower the tone of the moment. (See caption image) The character, Charlotte, drowns herself in pink, but it is colored in a muted enough shade by Farrell to fit the dim, dull tones of the comic. The whole team consists of technically skilled creators, who know how to use the tricks of the trade and avoid the easy and common flaws of a lesser book. Some artists don’t even try with background people’s faces and environments, but this team takes its time to make it look just as good as the primary focus, just a little smaller. As a result, the art sucks you into the comic in every panel.
Verdict: Buy! This comic is full of suspense, and it left me wanting more. The whole creative team aces the book, and the possibilities for the comic seem endless. It balances humor with tension like a gymnast on the high beam.