Well, here we are. Issue four of four. Does Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter present a satisfying conclusion to the story, or does it lean too heavily on building a sequel hook? How fare David Dastmalchian (writer), Lucas Ketner (artist), and Lauren Affe (colorist) in delivering a final issue? Let’s find out.
The final issue is perhaps the best of the four. The vital elements are all in place and Jerry has her first self-imposed mission and the plotting fires on all cylinders.
We also get some clarification on some other issues; namely why Jerri’s life seems to be such a mess. It comes down to unresolved trauma. The situation Jerri deals with is very much timeless in the sense that it is something women still deal with today and it adds a lot of weight to her actions throughout the series as a whole. She starts off as a mess, but by the end of this series, she is, well, still a mess, but just better at it. Fright’s inquiry of “what kind?” to Jerri’s question about killing monsters is absolutely on point and perfect gallows humor.
In her big fight with “the Billy,” we see Jerri at her absolute best; confident, improvisational, and focused. The reveal of her having taken gymnastics feels a bit sudden, but it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility. The most important thing is that in this moment she finds clarity that ultimately helps her to move forward. Her going to A. A. is one of those nice dualities of character development; monster hunting and A. A. at first blush don’t seem like they have correlation, but it’s more about her own personal journey and bonding with her brother. It’s all very sweet.
As far as the ending, we get progression. Jerri has something steady in the hosting, she has mostly made up with her brother, and things seem to be on the right track for her. That is until a figure from her past shows up at an A. A. meeting and a mysterious figure in New York opens up a letter with two scrawled words: “Count Crowley.”
The ending works, but in the sense that it is not quite a resolution to a complete story. It’s just a stopping point, a chapter’s end. On the one hand, I could use a break from ongoings, but on the other, who am I to complain about getting more of something that I like?
Week to week, the art of Count Crowley has been a pleasure to look at. I’ve commented at length on some of the classic horror comics the series sometimes evokes, but one area I’ve not really mentioned is the certain cinematic quality to the pages.
Dastmalchian’s background as an actor definitely has a hand in this. Staging comics is different in many ways to staging shots in the film, but there are some universalities. Knowing film allows a writer to lean in and apply some of those techniques to the visualization process. One, for example, is the copious use of the establishing shots used throughout the four issues to create what feels like very real spaces where action can play out in. I am not sure if it is strictly Ketner who is thumbnailing the pages, or it is a more collaborative process between Ketner and Dastmalchian, but however it is done, it absolutely works.
The comic also has a strong and consistent visual pacing. For the most part, the paneling is fairly standard across the book, but there are some moments where there is a lot of energy simply through breaking margins and straying from geometric boundaries. It gives the series a real sense of energy just when needed. Certain moments require a rigidity that others do not and it is a good sign to see a comic handle those panels so well.
Basically, Jerri does end up in a different place and some would argue not necessarily better, but there is still some satisfaction in the journey. It doesn’t quite feel like a self-contained story though, merely the first chapter of something larger. I enjoyed the ride, but I expected something a little more self-contained. (4.5 / 5)
The comic is good, damn good. But it also feels like a pitch for a television series as well. Most comics these days are usually keen on developing an IP for adaptation so I have no issue with that. It’s a smart move, especially if the comic itself is a lot of fun.
Who knows what the future may bring?
Overall, Count Crowley was a treat and I am waiting for the inevitable follow-up. Feel free to check out our other comic coverage as well.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 5
Well, you won’t get rid of me that easily… Ha ha, I lied about coming to the end and the afterlife in the Creepy Comics Collages segment, it was just an opportunity for rebirth. Besides, it’s World Collage Day! So having come into another comic book to rework, here we go again…
Creepy Comics Story 9: The Voice (of God or Reason or perhaps an homage to my ex)
“Come to me my children, the voice of God awaits!… Don’t let them escape!” Please beam me up out of this weird comic collage alternate reality. “God I am your hand! Lift me… to your place. I commend my spirit!” I want to go back to dreaming about starfish.
The computer programmer behind the scenes turns to face us and smiles. “Guardians! This is a place of God!… Come to the true voice of God!” “I am everything.” “Come to the voice!” And the horrific AI generated creatures abide by his every coded word.
Just like last night in the — signs posted for Nightmare, No Exit. The deer spirit faun screams in surprise, “Eeek!” “No! I defy you!” She returns to the form of a little girl with arms outspread to the open sky. “Y’know, a day like today makes all the stuff that happened last night seem just like a bad dream!” The dream seems so real…
Somewhere in the city, the computer programmer sits up at night in pensive monologue, “You try to make a difference… But it doesn’t really matter.”
Creepy Comics Story 10: The City (Metropolis becomes self-aware)
This segment is brought to you by Dead Artists and Talking Dinosaurs. No really, wait for it…
Woooooo Uhhhh Wooooooo Uhhhh… Wump! Uff! Wump! Uff! “She belongs to The City!” The Glenn Fry 1985 hit single looms ominously overhead as Metropolis becomes self-aware. “The City… will live!… The City… will breathe!” The City gasps for air, “Got to… breathe!… Got to… Breathe!“
Her breath is the wind… Her eyes are windows. Her heart pumps fluid through buried plumbing… “I’m The City!” Her mind is The City!
And we have a celebrity appearance by Rich Koz “Son of Svengoolie” WFLD 1973: “I take a nap for 10,000 years and look what happens… some-body builds a city!” Kerwyn chimes in, “Geez! Somebody’s been busy!” And we cut out to a scene of Svengoolie standing alongside his coffin.
Well, that’s all folks. Or is it? For now, any way… until I get more comic books… Duh duh DUHHHH…
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 4
Wow, I can’t believe you’ve stayed the course through four whole strange story posts of these creepy comics collages. But this is the final frontier, the last segment, the standing ovation as it were. So here goes…
Creepy Comics Story 7: The Grave (shallow enough for ya?)
“It should take longer, it seems to all of them. Such holy flesh should not give before a blade so easily.” “His brow is growing so cold.” “Yes it would be. He’s dying.”
“My god… I’m not dead.” Put the shovel down. “Life is a no-win situation. Besides… You’re already dead!”
“I’m not dead. I’m not dead!… Oh, Oh my god… I can’t move… What’s happened to me?” Buried alive. Or maybe not.
“Dead?” Perhaps I am actually dead. I was expecting something… I dunno… different.
“I’m not hungry, I’m dead. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, in fact.” At least I’m not a zombie. That seems a small consolation right now though. “My organs are shutting down. It is a relief.”
“Three days have already passed.” We’re just sitting here, rotting. Like Norman Bates’ Mother. At least someone was kind enough to supply a rocking chair. “Oh, one last thing before I go… You’re doing my fucking head in.”
Creepy Comics Story 8: Adrift Afterlife (why you save the best gold coins for the ferryman)
How’d we get here? “I do not stand alone. I am sat in a boat.” “.. to be millions of miles away from any care in the world.” Was that the Ferryman? “Only liberty I know.”
“He does not remember arriving here, or if he has been here before. It is not the island he grew up on, though it feels so very familiar… He has been waiting for the night tides to come in, for they will bring starfish. He has always liked watching them cling to the beach before the current pulls them back into fathoms.”
“And the ocean brings him starfish… Perhaps his father had nothing to do with this place at all.” The ferryman stands on the far shore. It makes no difference now.
“Beneath the ocean, razor-sharp coral grows and plunges towards the surface, sent by a green place that would not like to burn.” “The sand is soft between his toes and he is not ashamed of anything.” The ghosts are here, contentedly it seems.
Thank you for joining us for these creepy comics collage art stories. But here’s where we have to leave it off. Trust me, it’s best that way. Besides I’m out of creepy comics to collage with.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 3
We’re ba-ack… Are you ready for the next creepy comics collages graphic story overload? After the last time and the intermission I wasn’t sure I’d see you again, but here we are, together again. You’d almost think we put something in the water – wink.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, the world was going to hell… or was it?
Creepy Comics Story 5: Alien Invasion (A Fist Full of Physics!!!)
“Elsewhere… months… earlier…” “It begins as a flicker pin-point of light getting closer ever closer until it takes form.” The sky is falling, damn you Chicken Little.
“…unconfirmed rumors of extraterrestrials have surfaced this evening following reported sightings in upstate New York earlier today.” There’s the news for you. Always blowing things up to increase viewership ratings.
“Then I would suggest a test immediately.” ‘K Doc, we get it; maybe there’s cause for concern. Guessing these aren’t friendlies based on intel, or that the government pissed them off. “Where’s William Shatner when you really need him?”
“Next morning… City Hall…” “A Fist Full of Physics” Blamm-o! “As if that’s some kind of homage.” It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I was feeling fine but now I’m not so sure. “All of this is on your head.” You can thank the world governments with their shoot first, ask questions later policies for that.
“The act was deplorable. It’s ramifications were permanent.” Doc looks unamused. “And the doctor drones on in his cold monotone… ‘Then we all die.’”
Creepy Comics Story 6: Werewolves (Londoners, eat your hearts out)
“Fables Werewolves… no one can hear you howl.” So now we’re elbow-deep in lycanthropy? This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
“… I feel so… disoriented… is this vertigo?” No, you wouldn’t be so lucky. Once bitten, twice shy. It’s The Change. Prepare yourself for the transformation.
“What now?” Enough with the damned interruptions already, can’t you see I’m at work?!
“Shall we start a war?”
“No! No! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! No!“
“I know one thing.” “Never will you suffer the indignity of this animal’s touch again.” The wolf seems somewhat offended by that statement. No really. And probably rightly so.
“Maybe it’s just an excuse, a fucking cop-out for when we inevitably fuck-up our lives and hurt people… We’re not cursed, we’re rotten, or mad or…”
“I don’t deserve this!” he howls. Stop blaming the werewolves for your own human indecencies. Teacups get broken and the London werewolves get angry.
Thank you for going all in with us over this series, there’s… one… more… final… huzzah… In the meantime, check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.