CRONE #1, out this Wednesday from Dark Horse Comics is all the proof we need that one can never truly outrun their pasts. Dive into a dark and brutal tale, one that twines the past and the present together.
A new dynamic team has gotten together to bring us Dark Horse’s latest dark epic, Crone. Dennis Culver (writer) takes the helm, with Justin Greenwood (artist) and Brad Simpson (colorist) setting the bloody tone of the series itself.
Crone #1 introduces us to Bloody Bliss, a warrior of legend – and one who has moved to the mountains for retirement. Or a bloody death, it’s hard to tell. But even the greatest of warriors can’t hide from the fight. And the past is always waiting to get dug up again.
Crone #1 starts with a tale from the past – setting the scene and introducing us to the adventurous and gory history that Bloody Bliss became known for. Even this small hint gave a solid idea of her fighting prowess while giving us the impression that there is so much more to her tale.
Despite her chosen career path, Bloody Bliss somehow managed to live to a ripe old age. And boy, is she bitter about that fact. It’s a perfect example of the trope, the warrior who doesn’t want to die quietly in their sleep. And yet, there’s something more lurking beneath the surface.
Splitting Bloody Bliss’ tale into two parts, the past and the present, added vital context to the series. Yes, Bliss is now the Crone, and there’s little doubt that she’s still a brutal warrior. But we also needed to see the younger version of this warrior, to truly appreciate her abilities. And how much of an effect time has had on her?
Culver’s decisions for the introduction of this character and her story enhanced it all. Okay, the whole concept of an old crone warrior is pretty awesome on its own, we can admit that. But Culver takes it and forms it into something new and different. There are still a lot of questions that need answering, but the series will undoubtedly get to it.
Take a look at the cover of Crone #1. This cover will give you an excellent example of what is to come. The style is evocative, and yet delightfully bloody. Any comic reader hoping to get their hands on a gore-fest will not be disappointed.
There are two distinct sets of character designs and even styles, to a slightly lesser extent. The tale of the past shows a Bloody Bliss living up to her name – covered in blood and shedding it all over the place, and loving every moment of it. Meanwhile, the Bliss of the future, the Crone, shows a woman worn down by time, and yet no less dangerous or agile. Greenwood worked hard at making the two time periods distinct. And again, it’s believable that this is the same character.
Perhaps the most striking difference between the two was the decision to alter the color palettes. The bloody past has a red hue on it, which is appropriate, given the battle occurring. But the present is a much colder tone, with blues taking over the scene. It was compelling and memorable, and we’re going to have to give Simpson credit for what was done here.
Lastly, Pat Brosseau was the letterer for this issue, and we can’t forget about their work here. This single issue boasted plenty of conversations, naturally. But it also had a lot of sound effects, which certainly added to the impact of several scenes.
Crone #1 was an exciting start to what is already proving to be a bloody series. But we were expecting that. What is impressive is the amount of finesse worked into the tale. Our Crone is tortured and desperately holding on to the oaths she has left. She’s not at all what we expected. She is, in fact, so much more than that.