The Stakes Are Getting Impossibly High In Crowded #3

by Brendan M. Allen

Circe and Trotter, two of the heaviest hitters in the private murder industry, have just landed in Los Angeles, looking for Charlie and eager to collect the almost two million dollar Reapr campaign on her life. Charlie, oblivious to the growing danger, tries to carry on her freewheeling lifestyle while under Vita’s lock and key. But even their safest safehouse can’t keep the fame-and-fortune-driven killers off their trail for too long.

Crowded #3 pulls back the curtain a little more on both our protagonists as the price on Charlie’s head continues to skyrocket and Vita continues to do her level best to keep the kid alive. By the time the third safe house is blown, Vita’s should really start to evaluate if this gig is worth the payday.

A couple of hotshot pros, Circe and Trotter, have come to town to collect the bounty, and while the specialists are busy collecting intel, amateur hour is still in full effect. There’s even a tour bus service that provides a sort of “canned hunt” experience. It just wouldn’t be Crowded without at least one absolutely insane firefight, and this one takes place at sixty miles per hour through downtown Los Angeles.
Christopher Sebela keeps walking that line between light satire and extremely dark humor and it plays extremely well. He keeps teasing little pieces of these two ladies’ secret pasts, without really giving much away straight out. As action packed as this thing has been, it’s odd to call it a slow burn, but there it is.

Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell come again with their now signature cool and airy visuals. There are a hell of a lot of characters involved in this chapter, and even the throwaways have distinct, memorable looks. The action sequences are absolute chaos but are ridiculously easy to follow.
Cardinal Rae’s SFX are ridiculous. The sounds of an airliner exploding are visually depicted as the smoke and debris coming off the jet. The sounds of bullets are seen in terminal ballistics and muzzle flashes.

Crowded keeps bringing its fantastically dark, yet surprising light commentary on modern tech, crowdfunding, and internet pseudo-celebrity. It’s a slick little piece of satire disguised as a funny book, taking a good hard poke at our dependence on tech and need for validation.

Crowded #3, published by Image Comics, released 10 October 2018. Written/designed by Christopher Sebela, pencils by Ro Stein, Inks by Ted Brandt, colours by Triona Farrell, letters by Cardinal Rae, logo by Dylan Todd, variant cover by Rosi Kampe.

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