Mild Spoilers Ahead
Every year, six assassins meet in a remote cabin in Wisconsin for a Christmas celebration. It’s intended to make them feel human again and far removed from their jobs. However, last year Larry killed a father and his adult daughter for a slight insult. This year, the assassin’s Christmas will be interrupted when last year’s sins return to haunt them, and they die one-by-one in the frigid Wisconsin wilderness.
The Crow: Hark the Herald #1 is a Christmas-themed one-shot that finds the Crow hunting professional assassins for a senseless killing from the year before.
It’s a relatively straightforward premise that leads to the Crow killing some people who deserve the brutal punishment. That said, the comic does a good job of humanizing the assassins and giving each a distinct personality and motif.
From a certain perspective, one could say the comic does too good a job of humanizing the assassins. That is too say, it seems to forget that its cast of characters are paid to murder people for a living.
I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s a little too forgiving in regards to the inequities of our hired killers. One good deed done for other hired killers breaks the cold and brutal vengeance of the Crow. One of the macabre charms of the Crow is the bleak straightforwardness of its vengeance, and this comic misses the mark on that to a degree.
Meredith Laxton’s art is one thing about the comic that holds strong throughout. The book looks great, and some of the kills are visually creative. Like any good Crow story, this comic blurs the lines of the superhero genre and slasher sub-genre. Laxton takes that sentiment to the art, and it’s great. Katrina Mae Hao’s color work is excellent as well, giving the book the unnerving color palette it needs at the right moments.
The Crow: Hark the Herald #1 is a flawed, yet ultimately enjoyable one-off story bringing back the Crow for a Christmas killing. While the ending isn’t particularly satisfying, the rest of the book is engaging, and the artwork is damn good. This one still gets a recommendation. Feel free to pick it up.
The Crow: Hark the Herald #1 comes to us from writer Tim Seeley, artist Meredith Laxton, color artist Katrina Mae Hao, letterer Will Cook, cover artist Tim Seeley with Katrina Mae Hao, and variant cover artists Fei Chen and Tim Seeley.
Final Score: 7/10