This second-to-last issue of “Count Crowley” takes some time away from the monsters to focus on Jerri’s familial struggles and a strange conspiracy. The emotional beats may be a bit derivative, but they’re certainly effective and make Jerri an even more engaging protagonist. With consistent art and fun but emotionally charged plot, “Count Crowley” continues to be a worthwhile read.
After escaping an undead attacker, Jerri Bartman attempts to get some help from friends and family after her altercations. When they all dismiss her claims as delusions of a disturbed alcoholic however, she continues her investigation on her own. Upon finding the original Count Crowley Vincent Frights (er, Freis), she discovers that this whole horror story she’s uncovered has been hundreds of years in the making.
Writing & Plot
Writer David Dastmalchian continues to effectively mix goofy monster horror with compelling character drama. Sequences of fighting off creatures from golden-age horror films are intercut with gutting interactions between Bartman and the locals who know her. The tale of the alcoholic in need of redemption is not a new one, but it’s still effective when done right. Jerri is an easy character to root for as she roots around for answers and dodges werewolves, skeptics and sexist old men. The dialogue is as always sharp and naturalistic in this third issue. The plot itself is a compelling mix of Scooby-Doo for adults and a compelling turn-around for a struggling human being. Dastmalchian is proving himself to be a highly competent writer who knows how to weave great character stories with charming concepts.
The duo of Lukas Ketner’s pencils with Lauren Affe‘s colors continues to provide stellar and fitting artwork for “Count Crowley.” Keter’s realistically drawn people and classically-minded monsters exist perfectly in the comic’s environmental detail. Jerri’s desperation as she fights back welling emotions in visually deeply compelling. The book’s atmosphere is reinforced by Affe’s 60’s horror-inspired color choices. The influences “Count Crowley” displays are made most evident by the art team’s fantastic work here. Dastmalchain’s engaging and campy scripts are sold by Ketner and Affe’s combined efforts.
“Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter” #3 is an emotionally gripping and world-opening third chapter. Dastmalchian’s sharp ear for natural dialogue and compelling character storytelling pays off in spades in this issue, increasing the stakes of the series going forward. The consistently top-notch art from Lukas Keter and Lauren Affe nails fulfills this comic’s aesthetic from month-to-month, and issue #3 is no different. Be sure to keep this series in your pull list at your local comic shop until the final issue drops next month.