City of Angels was the sequel to The Crow. . .and in my humble opinion, the only decent sequel. I like the movie quite a bit, which probably puts me at odds with a lot of Crow fans who (according to reviews I've read) hated it for being even darker and more relentlessly depressing than the original, with not even the small bit of light and hope represented by young Sarah and the detective from The Crow. The second movie is so grim that the ending was changed so there would be SOMETHING happy in it.
But that's the movie. This is the comic book tie in. Let's take a look, shall we?
THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS (Kitchen Sink Comix)
This 3 issue series is the comic book adaptation of the second Crow movie. It follows the original script, rather than the version that was released in theaters, so there are a few departures, especially the ending, which is completely different.
For a 1990's movie tie in from a small press, this book has some pretty serious talent behind it. . .John Wagner on scripts, Dean Ormston on art (probably better known for Vertigo work and more recently, Dark Horse's Black Hammer) and awesome covers by Tim Bradstreet.
The story is extremely dark and isn't going to be for everyone. It starts right off with a literal bang as Ashe Corven is forced to witness his son being shot in the head before he too is shot and they are both dumped off a pier.
The spirit of vengeance known as the Crow finds kindred soul Sarah and leads her to the pier to witness Ashe's resurrection. She explains that he's only back long enough to get his revenge and as he struggles to accept that, the issue ends.
Overall, I felt the story was a bit rushed. It seemed extremely compressed. It wasn't BAD, though. . .it's actually quite good. But like I said, it's a very dark tale and those with delicate sensibilities (those who need safe spaces because elections don't turn out the way they like, for example) might just want to steer clear entirely.
The art is definitely unique here. It's very boldly inked. . .incredibly detailed in places, yet very vague in others. I can see how this style can be a very "love it or hate it". I don't love it, but I think it fits the dark and apocalyptic tone of this story very nicely.
This middle issue focuses on Ashe hunting and killing his way through the gang members who killed him and his son. Also, as Judah Earl learns of the deaths, he consults Sybil (a blind psychic) and learns about the Crow. He captures Sarah in order to lure both Ashe and The Crow to him.
I felt this middle issue slumped a bit. Once again, it felt extremely rushed and compressed. The dialogue was pretty cheesy in places as well. You can tell this was definitely written with a Goth audience in mind as Ashe spouts dark poetry while in the middle of dealing bloody death. It's hard to care about any of the deaths when there was so little context beyond "You killed us". I'm thinking this series could have used a 4th issue to slow things down and give a little more meaning to things.
The art also shows a bit of weakness in this issue. It's still dark and brooding in its own unique way, but it comes apart a bit during more bombastic scenes of violence. And the artist struggles with motorcycles which figure in a key sequence.
Overall, this issue was still pretty good, but not as good as the introductory issue.
This final issue picks up quite a bit as it explores the dark mythology of The Crow a bit more now that Ashe's trail of death has led him to Judah Earl.
Earl captures The Crow and kills it, using its blood to take on its powers for himself and leaving Ashe vulnerable to injury and pain, even though he still can't die.
This issue also has the most departure from the movie in two scenes. . .one where the spirit of Ashe's son tells him he's finished with his mission of vengeance and if he doesn't return, they'll be separated forever. Ashe decides to stay and rescue Sarah. The second is the ending. In the movie, Sarah, Danny, and Ashe are united as spirits in the afterlife for a fairly happy ending to a pretty grim movie. In the ending to this series, because he stayed to rescue Sarah (who was killed by Judah Earl anyway), Ashe is doomed to roam the earth as an undead spirit. Quite a bit darker.
Unfortunately, the impact of the grim ending is lessened by the rushed telling of the story. . .something that has been a fault of this series since the first issue.
Overall, this was a satisfying ending to this dark and violent series.
As a fan of the movie, I liked this mini. If you aren't already a Crow fan, or are a sensitive type, this will probably not be your cup of tea. I liked that it was based on the original script, even though that meant the ending was definitely NOT a happy one. The art was unique, and not really my favorite style, but it fit the grim and unearthly tone of this particular story very nicely.
My main problem with this mini was that it felt extremely rushed and compressed from start to finish. It probably would have benefitted from a 4th issue to give a bit more impact and meaning to events that seem almost disconnected in the finished product.
Up next. . .
Even though I don't have the full run of the series, old school Brave and Bold are pretty much all one shots anyway, right? So let's head back to the 80's and take a look at some crazy team-ups!
Brave and Bold. . .Batman teaming up with Swamp Thing, Huntress, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Joker, Superboy, and I. . .Vampire. Be there or be square!
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Issue # 0