Comic Book Review: The Creep #1
“In The Creep #1 we see Oxel engaging with a hooker…”
I reviewed The Creep #0 last month, and the first issue of its mini-series-proper is very much a companion piece to that.
It’s 1988, and six months ago Stephanie Brink’s teenage son Curtis shot himself, his best friend also having committed suicide two months before him. The cops haven’t found anything suspicious in either of the boys’ deaths and aren’t too interested in the cases. Stephanie doesn’t understand – and can’t get over – Curtis’s death, and has written a letter to Oxel Karnhus, a Private Investigator – asking him to take the case.
As a young adult, Stephanie was Oxel’s sweetheart. She broke his heart and married another man (whom she’s since divorced).
Since then, Oxel has developed acromegaly – a physical deformity that has distorted his features and voice, making him appear and sound brutishly deformed, rendering him the target of cruel jibes from strangers on the street; something he seems to have trouble standing up to. He’s disrespected and lonely, and there are also other problems Oxel’s condition brings him, including headaches and heavy sweating.
Things ain’t going great for Oxel.
“The problems with this issue are that it covers much of the same ground as the #0 issue…”
The illustration of the #0 issue appears to have been completed some time before what we get in this first issue, as this seems a little different despite being by the same artist, Jonathan Case. The style he uses remains more or less the same; things depicted somberly, with limited grey-and-brown-heavy color in present day – whereas fantasy segments and flashbacks involving Curtis have a looser and more colorful flourish to them. But Oxel’s appearance seems more deformed here. A welcome tweak, as I didn’t think this was rendered to the needed degree in the #0 issue, in order to make Oxel stand out as much as is intended.
In issue #1 we see Oxel engaging with a hooker he’s well-acquainted with – while still clearly hung up on Stephanie; paying Stephanie’s car-dealer ex-husband Greg a visit, to question him, as he starts to get deeper into the case. We see Curtis’s down-and-out-and-crazy Grandfather Jeff hallucinating the boy whose death apparently broke him; flashbacks to the two ‘suicide’ boys having fun with him in happier times – a then-regular occurrence, as Jeff took a big role in the boys’ lives when Stepanie’s ex/Curtis’s step dad Greg failed to provide Curtis with a father-figure; and Oxel suffering more abuse from strangers, due to his appearance.
The problems with this issue are that it covers much of the same ground as the #0 issue, but without covering enough to bring people who didn’t read it fully up to speed. The only new things here are that we meet Greg and see evidence that Oxel appears to be ‘losing his grip,’ as we witness him attracting unwanted attention when lost in thought – unwittingly staring at a couple of guys in the subway; and accidentally drunk-dialing his hooker, when he thinks he’s dialed Stephanie (they still have yet to actually speak in their current era).
The #0 issue – well written by John Arcudi, with a well-defined, melancholy feel to its world, and good dialogue – gripped me, and #1 strengthens that hold by taking things a little deeper. ‘Slow’ fits the feel of The Creep‘s world, but things need to advance in #2, after two issues that have been so similar.
Geek Smash rating: 88/100
Preview pages below:
For more from reviewer Sam Johnson, check out samjohnson-comics.blogspot.com