August 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm By:

The Creep #0 collects a story from John Arcudi and Jonathan Case that was serialized in three issues of Dark Horse Presents.  For those who don’t like spending $7.99 for a comic, this is a fine way of readings some of the serials for the more affordable price of $2.99.  The issue also acts as a lead in to the upcoming The Creep four issue mini series.  While Arcudi is mostly known for his work on B.P.R.D., The Creep has little in common with that world of monsters and supernatural activity.

In fact, it’s very much rooted in a normal, everyday world.  That said, the main character Oxel Karnhus does have a genetic condition called acromegaly, where the human growth hormone is produced in excess and can cause physical deformities.  Oxel looks a bit like he could’ve been an old Dick Tracy villain, but the twist in this story is that he’s the protagonist.  Not only is he our hero, but he’s a private investigator.  It’s a clever reversal of archetypes, but that’s not the most notable aspect of this book.

While Oxel’s all too aware of his condition and how other view him, the book doesn’t wallow in melodrama or the musings of an overly reflective narrator.  Arcudi addresses the character’s physical condition, but promptly moves on to the rest of the story.  It would’ve been easy for a writer to spend too much time delving into Oxel’s acromegaly and how it affects his life, but Arcudi wisely lets the physical issue be just one part of the character.

The case we see Oxel take on in #0 involves his old college girlfriend, who has recently dealt with tragedy in the form of her son’s suicide.  While questioning why her son would do such a thing, she finds out that Oxel is an investigator and asks for his help to find out if there were outside factors contributing to the suicide.  While we don’t see Oxel and the ex-girlfriend reconnect outside of a phone call, readers understand that both characters are scarred in literal and figurative ways.  It is their fond memories of past days that lead them to ask for and accept help from each other, but more than that, it’s desperation that catalyzes them.  Both characters have undergone drastic transformations since their college days, and like many, know that their pasts probably aren’t as bucolic as their memories might suggest.  Still, they find themselves looking for solace and answers.  It is, however, a story with noirish undertones, so readers can infer that things might not end well.

While the story of The Creep is well crafted, it greatly benefits from the art of Jonthan Case.  Some of you might remember him from the recent Green River Killer graphic novel.  While there are aspects of his work that remind me of artists like B.P.R.D. and Lobster Johnson artists Tyler Crook and Tonci Zonjic, there also seems to be an appreciation for master minimalist Alex Toth.  Case’s work propels the story forward, but with a sense of restraint and an inclination to stay away from gratuitous lines and shots.  The Creep offers up a fine melding of words and art, and is exemplary of how successfully a comic can be executed when both creators serve the story.



Filed Under: DISCUSS, Looking Ahead, Reviews

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