Review: The Creep #0
The Creep #0 Review
A nice Frank Miller cover, illustrated in a stark, black & white Sin City style, kicks off this #0 issue collecting the 3-part set-up arc (which first appeared in Dark Horse Presents) for September’s The Creep mini-series; written by John Arcudi and illustrated by Jonathan Case.
We’re in the New Year of 1988. Six months ago, Stephanie Brink’s teenage son Curtis shot himself, his best friend also having committed suicide two months earlier. The cops are jaded towards such cases and have found nothing suspicious in either of the boys’ deaths and closed the book on them. But Stephanie won’t accept this, she spends her time thinking about little else than Curtis’s death, and has been doing so ever since it happened. She believes it doesn’t make sense, she wants answers, and–with the police unwilling to look for them–having learned that Oxel Karnhus, her college sweetheart of some twenty-plus years ago, is now a Private Investigator, she writes him a letter asking for his help…
Arcudi and Case do a nice job of utilizing the comic medium inventively when filling in the back-story, with the content of Stephanie’s letter spoken out loud by her as she visits a cop and then delivers a monologue–culminating in her removing, and dropping, her wedding ring–before a phone conversation between she and Oxel is played out in captions over his bus journey.
Stephanie broke Oxel’s heart as a young adult and then married another man, Greg–who seems to be generally regarded as a waste of space; but it’s apparent that Oxel and Stephanie still have feelings for each other.
The two both avoid seeing each other in this debut issue, though, and Stephanie isn’t fully aware of how unkind the years since they were together have been to Oxel. He’s down-at-heel, working out of a tatty office, disrespected by the local youths, and has developed acromegaly–a physical deformity that has distorted his features and voice, making him appear brutishly deformed, with vocal chords to match.
Oxel takes on the case and visits the other suicide teen’s mother and his now-homeless & crazy Grandfather Jeff. Jeff had stepped in where Oxel’s Stepfather Greg had failed to in providing paternally for Curtis, and become close to both Curtis and his best friend–and was hit very hard by their deaths.
Oxel becomes frustrated as he sets about looking into whether there truly is more to the boys’ suicides than the police care to find out–as significant details get revealed that their mothers had chosen to omit–in this gripping, melancholic tale, with strong dialogue from Arcudi and crisp illustration from Case–its Stephanie scenes and the fantasy playing out in Curtis’s Grandfather’s troubled mind visually distinguished from Oxel’s brown & grey scenes (conveying his outlook) with a colorful painted, looser style that overspills from the panels.
A nice set-up to an intriguing mini-series, where at this stage it seems ambiguous as to who ‘The Creep’ of the title is referring…
For more from reviewer Sam Johnson, also check out http://samjohnson-comics.blogspot.com/