As David reflects on his all too short life and the loss of his true love, we learn the motivation for not only his path of destruction as set out by the ever prresent Crow, but also his quest for redemption.
THE CROW: MEMENTO MORI #2
Writer: Roberto Recchioni
Artist: Werther Dell’edera
Colors: Giovanna Niro
Letters: Giovanni Marinovich
Publisher: IDW Comics
Writer: David Furnò
Artist: David Furnò
Colors: David Furnò
Letters: Giovanni Marinovich
What You Need to Know:
Sixteen-year-old altar boy, David Amadio was killed in the streets of Rome, one of twenty-seven fatalities in a terrorist attack caused by a truck driving into a religious procession, and awakens seeking redemption and revenge. Having found three of the perpetrators holed up in a secret location he carried out the will of The Crow. But not before the last man standing desperately detonated a bomb strapped to his own chest as he screamed “God is great” at his would-be executioner, who simply smiled and agreed as the room exploded around them.
What You’ll Find Out:
The news of the explosion is delivered to the public via a radio broadcast, first suspected to be a gas explosion, it is then linked to the previous incident which killed David and his fellow church members and has now raised suspicion of a sustained terror attack on the city. The radio announcer then introduces the next song, Color Me Once by The Violent Femmes, which avid Crow fans will recognize as coming from the very first movie soundtrack. We find David’s lifeless body lying in the ruins of the explosion, his body ripped viciously in two, as he compares his brief life to that of a TV show where he was just a walk-on part.
Beginning with his birth, briefly touching on being a toddler and seeing blood for the first time, he skips forward to his early youth and his introduction to his childhood sweetheart Sarah, first and of course, only love. This also marks his induction to the church and religion, by way of the man who goes on to give him religious instruction Father Raphael.
Through his lessons with Raphael, we learn the priest takes a very hard line on religion, Those who don’t practice or believe in the same god as he is an enemy of Christ and to be shown no mercy. As David and Sarah grow closer they become Gods warriors and are ever under the scrutiny of Raphael, who watches over them intently, some may say even too intently.
His observation is such that he spies on them even as they seemingly give into temptation and go off alone somewhere to hide and express their feelings, as teenagers are wont to do. He follows and catches them alone together and taking his belt to Sarah alone, he dispenses his self-righteous indignation in the form of corporal punishment. David believes this must not have been enough though and they are truly unworthy of redemption as when they died he alone was sent back. Returning to the present he awakens in the ruins of the bomb blast and quoting scripture sets about fixing his obvious injuries and finishing his mission. Though with the three terrorists already dead there aren’t many options left for the wraithlike David. Regardless this doesn’t deter him or his ever watchful guardian. Who will be the next to suffer his wrath?
Following on there is a backup tale called “Nevermore” based on the prose of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. Featuring some very dark and foreboding art, it complements the narrative perfectly. The art is once again very similar in style to the original and David Furnò also truly masters the gothic spirit of the tale. First published in 1845, the poem is often noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere. It tells the tale of a distraught lover lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore. Besieged by a mysterious talking raven. The visitor traces the man’s slow descent into madness. Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”, here with obvious fatal results. Though not linked to the main story it is a cautionary tale on the act of wallowing in woe and guilt, a theme central to all of the Crow stories that have gone before.
What Just Happened?
Since James O’Barrs first tale of the Crow in 1989, born of the trauma of losing his fiancée to a drunk driver years before, those who continued the Crow mythos have never been afraid of tackling the deeply emotive subject of revenge and justice and it just got that much more hard-hitting with this new tale. Dealing with not only the all too common method used by terrorists in recent times of driving trucks into crowded city locations with the intent on causing maximum harm and shock, the newest chosen vessel to be imbued with the spirit of vengeance is by far the youngest ever seen, as evidenced fully in the visual interpretation of David’s life by way of short movie.
The written prose evokes emotions of youth and raises questions of our own mortality. David is not only consumed by regret for his all too short life but also the loss of his sweetheart, who he witnessed die instantly while he slowly suffered before succumbing to his own injuries. He is also devoutly religious and quotes biblical text as he goes about the grisly task of exacting his revenge and supernatural form of justice as only those possessed of zealous righteousness chosen by the Crow can. Though the dialogue is sparing, Roberto Recchioni fully conveys the thoughts and motivations of David, staying faithful to the original tale set out so many years before.
The art is truly masterful and individual and although not as clean-edged and polished as some mainline comics, Werther Dell’edera does a beautiful job of using imagery that is meant to invoke deeper emotion to inform the narrative, not only through David’s words but also his memories, most of which are visual, as all our memories tend to be. The gloomy interpretations of religious iconography are in stark contrast to the sun-drenched images of childhood memories and display a maturity of storytelling style that breaks from the norm and asks the reader to dig into their own subconscious to the feelings that resonate with what is on the page.
The history of the Crow is, of course, a long and bloody one. First, there was Eric, driven by revenge for the killing of himself and his fiancée. Since then we’ve had Joshua, a native American (and authentic so far to the origins of the Native American legend) murdered by Confederate soldiers. Then Iris, a female Federal Conservationist, also killed by terrorists, of a more domestic homegrown kind. Followed by Michael, a man murdered with his wife by car-jackers and then Mark a Chinese family man bent on saving his daughters from the Chinese mafia. All of these were published by Kitchen Sink Press and the further volumes have been released by IDW.
Of those under the new publisher this is the fifth volume and by far the best of the IDW releases. Following on from The Crow: Death and Rebirth, The Crow: Skinning the Wolves, The Crow: Curare and finally The Crow: Pestilence are the previous outings by IDW. Whereas the other four became more pedestrian, plain and simple revenge killing tales that have decreased more and more in style and narrative over the years, this brings the reader back to the true meaning of the original and once again raises the question of divine justice and reinforcing the belief that everyone gets their comeuppance even though it seems the world goes on uncaring.
Final Thought: A return to form and puts The Crow back on the road to its true origin set out by James O’Barr almost thirty years ago.
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