Review: Crowded #12 (Image Comics)

Cultists, Loyalty, and Tension in Crowded #12

It’s safe to say that Vita and Charlie have been having a rough go of it. That is a fact that will not change for Crowded #12. After all, we’re talking about a woman who has an ever-increasing sum available to the person that kills her and the bodyguard hired to protect her.

This is a world where technology has hit new levels, and along with it has come several new types of social media and crowdfunding. For example, do you hate your neighbor? Start a Reapr campaign to take care of it.

Unfortunately, Charlie’s life isn’t that simple. She wasn’t (simply) a lousy neighbor, so the people who crowdfunded her death are much higher in number and have much deeper pockets. That leaves Vita constantly fighting to stay ahead and keep their charge alive.

Writing

Crowded #12 was such a unique and brilliant reading experience. Christopher Sebela delivered something new and exciting here, from start to finish. It was exactly what fans have been hoping for. No, it was even more than that.

The perspective shown in the first part of this issue was completely unexpected. Yet it worked, adding layers to the depth and tension of what is occurring. It also added a hefty layer of foreshadowing for later. Something that might not have been possible with any other storytelling style, at least, not without a massive break in the show versus tell department.

The growing tension between Charlie and Vita has been evident since the first issue. Yet Sebela has grown their relationship in unexpected yet organic ways. That being said, Crowded #12 has done so much both to and for their relationship, providing a sense of organic drama.

Honestly though? The best part about this issue is just how painfully human Vita read. This character has a lot of flaws, and yet they are arguably a better person than almost any other character we’ve seen. There’s an important lesson to take from that.

Art

If you’re looking for an issue with lots of creative artwork, then be sure to check out Crowded #12. Everything from cerebral scenes to clever color palettes is utilized to make this issue feel larger than life. And it shows.

Ro Stein and Ted Brandt were the lead artists, providing us the sometimes tense, sometimes comical foundation for this issue. The characters in this series have huge personalities, but that fact wouldn’t shine nearly so brightly if not for the artwork. It felt like their emotions were more apparent than ever in this issue, and I loved it.

Triona Farrell provided the colors, and they did a fantastic job. The color palette, in the beginning, made it immediately clear who’s perspective we saw from. It sold it in an instant and really brought the whole concept home. Likewise, the more tech-oriented scenes were clean and bright, which is perfect.

Finally, Cardinal Rae was the letterer for this issue, and they had so much to work with here. We’re talking about multiple monologues, viewpoints, and foreshadowing to fit in the pages. Yet, they did so with finesse.

Conclusion

Crowded #12 was a fantastic and highly entertaining reading experience. One that kept me on the edge of my seat while reading, and I sincerely hope that I’m not the only one. It was full of drama and tension, naturally. But it also went a long way in reminding us of the humanity and past of the characters we’ve come to love. And don’t forget all of that foreshadowing dropped at the end of the issue!

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

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