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

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: 'Bonehead' #2 by Bryan Edward Hill, Rhoald Marcellius, and Sakti Yuwono

Bryan Hill pumps the brakes a little in the follow up to the fast-paced debut of 'Bonehead' with more great world building. The mystery surrounding Bonehead 56 deepens but we at least get some backstory and details about what his arrival means for a pair of brothers with opposing viewpoints.


BONEHEAD #2   
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill Artist: Rhoald Marcellius, Sakti Yuwono Letterer: Jaka Ady Graphics: Comolo Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 31, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score:★★★★☆ (4/5)
After a thrilling video game-like first issue, issue two gives way to the brothers Kray. Aleph is a tech scientist examining the unconscious "56" and marveling at his abilities. He reminds him when his brother Hideki roamed the city as the vigilante Blackdeath. Hideki is a Gladiator (cop) now and he questions Aleph's methods with 56 and its legalities. Nonetheless, they need 56 to be free on the streets for now so they can monitor him. The brothers c…

REVIEW: 'Hit-Girl' #1 by Mark Millar and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz

Hit-Girl is most certainly back and as deadly and crazy as ever. She's gone international looking to fight injustice and find a worthy sidekick. Mark Millar is in top form with help from artists Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Sunny Gho. The heart of the Kick-Ass legacy lives on as bloody and as thrilling as you remember.


HIT-GIRL #1
Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, Sunny Gho Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: February 21, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
The retirement of Dave Lizewki as the original Kick-Ass has left a void in Mindy's crime-fighting life. Trying to recruit his replacement has been challenging to say the least. She's going to go it alone and taking her skills global as a cry for help leads her to Colombia.

Millar hits the floor running with a wild prison break, Mindy parting ways with an unworthy partner, and a grieving mother looking for justice. The sudden blitz back to the world of Kick-Ass is like comfort food for comic book fans. …

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable Releases 2/7/18

What a week in comics! There are so many great books out this week that I couldn't include them all on this list. Take a look at this killer's row of shiny new comics.



(W) Sean Murphy (A/CA) Sean Murphy
Jack's mind and body begin to betray him as he prepares for an inevitable showdown with Batman, and Bruce himself struggles to keep his team united. As the game gets tougher, Batman seeks counsel from a shocking source-and after Wayne Manor is infiltrated, a car chase for the ages aims to curb Napier's supercriminal crew once and for all.


(W) Paul Dini, James Robinson, Jeff Lemire, Steve Orlando, Mark Russell, Kyle Higgins, Alisa Kwitney, Phil Hester (A) Guillem March, Frazer Irving (A/CA) Kelley Jones
It's hard being a monster... and even harder being a monster in love. Sparks will fly and hearts will be broken when the ghouls and ghosts of the DC Universe assemble to bring you the Valentine's Day Special that no one saw coming!


(W) Tom King, Len Wein (A) Kell…

ADVANCE PREVIEW: 'BLACK [AF]: America's Sweetheart' by Kwanza Osajyefo and Jennifer Johnson

Can a black woman be America's first superhero?


Eli Franklin is a 15-year-old girl living in rural Montana--and she just happens to be the most powerful person on the planet.

In the aftermath of the world learning that only black people have superpowers, Eli makes her debut as the superhero Good Girl, on a mission to help people and quell the fear of empowered blacks.

When a super-terrorist threatens to take away everything Eli has worked toward, will donning a patriotic costume be enough for her to find acceptance?

America's Sweetheart expands BLACK into a universe of heroes.

BLACK [AF]: America's Sweetheart
Written by Kwanza Osajyefo (BLACK) and illustrated by next breakout artist Jennifer Johnson. With a gorgeous cover by Sho Murase. Letterer: David Sharpe
Designer: Tim Smith 3
Editor: Sarah Litt
Published by Black Mask Studios

Based on characters created by Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 from the world established in BLACK, the breakout comic book series by Osajyefo and Smith, …