Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'The Dregs' #3 by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Eric Zawadzki, and Dee Cunniffe

To demonstrate how great 'The Dregs' #3 is, this is where I'd normally scrutinize the series as a whole based on the direction of the third issue but it not only exceeded my expectations, it did so without giving me what I was looking for.


★★★★★ (5/5)

Arnold continues to investigate the disappearance of his friend Manny. A journey that takes him out of the Dregs momentarily and out of his comfort zone. It's a difficult chore as he deals with severe withdrawals from Listo but with a determined spirit, the will of Phillip Marlowe, and one imaginary muse he keeps digging for clues and leads. Throughout the series, the underlying story is the plight of Vancouver's homeless population and the gentrification that keeps pushing them out further and further away from the streets they called home. Writers Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler integrate these real world conditions into the story seamlessly so it never feels heavy-handed. 

They also never let you forget who Arnold is and how he fits or doesn't fit in the world. It's part of what makes 'The Dregs' so powerful. In a way, Arnold's story is the untold story of marginalized people we ignore every day. It's brilliantly illustrated by Arnold simply asking for directions only to be dismissed as a beggar. Or being asked to leave a coffee shop because the patrons become bothered. Probably more dispiriting is seeing Arnold return to a very different Dregs as the wheels of progress keep turning ever faster. It's poignant but Arnold remains resolute in his search for answers never succumbing to victimhood. 

He's smart with great instincts and that's why the approach the writers take in using a pulpy detective story is so effective. Arnold's love of detective Marlowe gives him inspiration and direction. His inner monologue has the exposition of a crime novel but it really reveals his connection with the city and his place in it. He may be having delusions but he's not delusional. He understands his place in the food chain but he's unfazed by it. He's got a job to do, after all, find his friend.

With all this great writing it takes a special team of artists to bring it to life and Eric Zawadzki and Dee Cunniffe are that team. Zawadzki unfolds the story with an unflinching look at Arnold. A page full of panels, each with a portion of Arnold's face, his shaky hands, greasy hair, and overgrown beard force the reader to look at him. The camera stays fixed on his face as he walks the city streets juxtaposed against a vibrant populace causing him to stand out like a sore thumb. More importantly, we're forced to see Arnold. As we do, he becomes more than just a homeless addict, the layers begin to strip away and all we see is a human being. Someone looking for the way things used to be only to find themselves crushed under the weight of merciless expansion. Cunniffe gives 'The Dregs' its lifeblood with a surprisingly colorful palette. The transition in and out of the Dregs is considerably stark. It's like walking out of Oz and into 'Blade Runner,' light to dark, vibrancy to apathy, while Arnold remains exactly the same. Soon, the Dregs will fully be in the light and where will Arnold fit then?

'The Dregs' is certainly one of those hidden gems that you find from word-of-mouth and cherish as your secret treasure. It deserves so much more than to be a selfish delight and should be shouted from the rooftops. Here's an expertly told story from a passionate team of writers and artists that have more on their minds with a socially aware comic that works as hard-boiled pulp. I was ready to judge it on whether they'd go back to what happened in the opening issue and explain what they foreshadowed. They didn't and it didn't matter. Arnold is the star and wherever he goes is where the story follows. Period. 

The first two issues garnered 5 out of 5 stars each. Issue 3 is even better. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

NYCC: Dynamite's Next 25-Cent Revival is 'Dejah Thoris' with Amy Chu

The Princess of Mars is set to return to her throne this January, as Dynamite Entertainment announces the relaunch of one of their most beloved characters, Dejah Thoris. Writer Amy Chu (Poison Ivy, Red Sonja, KISS) will bring the strong, iconic character back to the comics in the debut issue Dejah Thoris #0, which will retail for 25 cents and allow fans to join the adventure at this introductory price.


This replicates the outstanding debut of Sheena #0, which broke 120,000 sales. Retailers can confidently stock their shelves with extra copies of this red-hot new series.

This exciting prequel to Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book, A Princess of Mars, will delve into the untold story of the classic Red Martian princess!  After learning of the legendary Gardens of Mars from her grandfather, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, sets off on a dangerous scientific expedition to save her dying planet. But things don't go the way she planned when she encounters a mysterious Green Martian…

PREVIEW: 'Sovereigns' #5 by Ray Fawkes and Dylan Burnett

This is it!  All your questions will be answered, all the mysteries revealed!  What has obliterated humanity?  What the hell happened to the moon?  What is the true nature of the Hidden Jungle?  Why do the heroes you know and love—Turok, Magnus and Doctor Spektor—seem like completely different people?  And perhaps most importantly, how will the world be saved, and at what cost?



DOCTOR SPEKTOR PART 6: The story of the all-new master (and we use the term lightly) sorcerer continues... when Doc gets drunk & summons a demon – and good decision-making ensues!
Sovereigns #5
writers: Ray Fawkes (main),        Aubrey Sitterson (Doctor Spektor) artists: Johnny Desjardins (main),              Dylan Burnett (Doctor Spektor) covers: Stephen Segovia (A)               Johnny Desjardins (B)               Fred Hembeck (C)               Kenan Yarar (D)               Stephen Segovia (RI-B/W) FC  •  32 pages  •  $3.99  •  Teen +











WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fred Van Lente & CAFU Decode ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1

Valiant announces ARMSTRONG AND THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 – a hard-charging, standalone special coming this winter from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, Incredible Hercules) and red-hot rising star CAFU (RAPTURE)! On February 7th, join in a riotous celebration for the ages as Armstrong, for the very first time, uncorks the ancient mysteries of his centuries past – and dares his closest comrades into the adventure of several lifetimes!

Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the C…

REVIEW: 'Betty and Veronica: Vixens' #1 by Jamie L Rotante, Eva Cabrera, and Elaina Unger

Archie Comics is not afraid to spice things up with non-continuity books featuring the Riverdale gang in alternate realities. Whether it's a zombie horror book (Afterlife with Archie), a fledgling rock band (The Archies), or crossing over with other characters (KISS, Ramones, Predator, Punisher), Archie and the gang have been through a lot of fun adventures. None have been more fun or as liberating as this new series, Betty and Veronica: Vixens.


BETTY AND VERONICA: VIXENS #1
Writer: Jamie L Rotante Artist: Eva Cabrera Colors: Elaina Unger Letters: Rachel Deering Publisher: Archie Comics Release Date: November 15, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
From the opening splash page of a girl biker gang rolling down the highway clad in black leather you
can almost hear "Born to be Wild" playing in your head, Jamie Rotante sets the tone as they circle a trailer of Southside Serpents. These badass bikers mean business and aren't to be trifled with. The shocking part is…