Crimson Rider #1
Writer: Zach Davis
Artist: Tyler Sowles
Letterer: Justin Birch
Title Design: Jake Clinton
Story Edits: Trico Lutkins
Grammar Edits: Lauren Resk
Review by Christoph Staffl
Crimson Rider #1 is the start of a three-part mini series, written by Zach Davis. Set in a western landscape, the first issue kicks off the story of a famous killer, as she faces the consequences of her actions: the gallows. With a bunch of other murderers, she stands in line to be hanged. As the other “candidates” get to know their companion, you get the feeling that she did god-awful things to a lot of people. The Crimson Rider seems to be the stuff myths are made of, and parents tell their kids about if they do not behave themselves.
The rest of the issue is a flashback as Mary tells the origin story of the Crimson Rider. I find this way of structuring a story intriguing. Knowing the (supposedly) end of a tale does not always ruin the suspense if the journey to this point is told well-enough and the protagonist a relatable character. Plus, there are a few creative bits in the narration.
This is definitely true for Crimson Rider #1. Mary, her little brother, and her father are finally living in peace, after the death of her mother. Tragedy bonded the three remaining family members even more together. The way they talk and act around each other shows you the respect, love, and understanding they share. Knowing all of this just makes the tragic death of Mary’s remaining family even more devastating. You know that the things she does, from this point forward, are justified in her eyes, and you wish her luck and strength on her journey.
I like the art in Crimson Rider #1 quite well. Almost completely drawn in black-and-white, the artist Tyler Sowles is able to pull off quiet, slow-paced family situations, as well as fast-paced action sequences. I say “almost,” because the only color you get to see is red. Sometimes just one item appears in that color. But other times a whole panel is dipped in different hues of red. This suggests not only tense situations but also a sense of danger, and hints at significant moments. I like this method quite well because the creators can instantly change the atmosphere from one panel to the other.
There are just two things I have to complain about. The first, is the way some tears are drawn. Sometimes they can be a bit distracting because they are prominently featured in the faces, which distracts from the facial expressions and therefore limits them. Second, is the body language of a priest, which does not quite fit the things he says. But those are just minor things, and maybe it’s just me.
The Verdict: Check it out.
Crimson Rider #1 starts off a promising quest of a young lady, who lost her family because she didn’t act in the first place. It has some Peter-Parker-y vibes, but with more blood, brutality, and revenge. I am in for the ride (pun intended).
You can support Crimson Rider on Kickstarter.