Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'The Dregs' #4 by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, Eric Zawadzki, and Dee Cunniffe

The beauty of independent comics is the passion and expertise of telling an original story that doesn't depend on legacy characters or a predermined outcome. Black Mask studios' 'The Dregs' by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, Eric Zawadzki, and Dee Cunniffe is an example of the best that indies have to offer. In the conclusion of the miniseries, the creative team demonstrates the ability to create a satifying mystery with an even more horrific underlying real-world message.


THE DREGS #4 
    
Writers: Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson
Artist: Eric Zawadzki
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

★★★★★ (5/5)

Our homeless sleuth, Arnold, has in three issues searched all over Vancouver looking for his friend Manny. Along the way, he's had to fight his addiction, contend with delusions, confront discrimination, succumb to gentrification, and all the while battling his status as a second-class citizen. It's been a sobering and gripping look at homelessness under an enthralling mystery where society figuratively and literally cannibalizes the most vulnerable. It all comes to a thoughtful and impactful ending. As in life, not everything has a happy ending. Despite the fight, people like Arnold are merely cogs in one big machine and those with the power to change things often become enablers instead of warriors.

Nadler and Thompson have been saving this ending since that first gory sequence in issue one. Here, they pull back the curtain and reveal some chilling realities that hit Arnold like a ton of bricks. Without giving too much away, this machine Arnold was raging against, pounding the pavement looking for answers like his hero Philip Marlowe, was all for naught. When he's led back to the trendy restaurant La Mancha where this story began, Arnold comes face-to-face with the cold hard truth - that progress is inevitable no matter who gets crushed along the way. He's been yelling into the void this whole time. It is an infuriating turn of events, a bittersweet resolution without an actual conclusion for Arnold who fought uphill so valiantly. And worst, no one cares.

Eric Zawadski and Dee Cunniffe have given 'The Dregs' its soul with every dynamic layout and every gritty panel. Zawadski conveys so much from his designs and not just from a technical aspect. Sure, the lines are clean and perspectives varied to give the story urgency and tension but the art somehow becomes a living breathing thing. The city is at times imposing, looking down on Arnold, mocking his fruitless pursuit of justice. It weaves and changes before Arnold's eyes becoming unrecognizable. The city itself is a character, another obstacle in Arnold's way, another thing that has turned its back on him. Zawadski masterfully captures the emotion and inner turmoil of Arnold with body language and expressions that break your heart. Cunniffe sets the mood, as you'd expect in the crime noir novel that exists in Arnold's head, with dark earth tones and shadowy grays and black. The colors in the restaurant are bold and bright as if someone had turned on the house lights in a darkened theater. It's a moment of cruel clarity.

'The Dregs' is a powerful story steeped in social commentary that seamlessly exists within a compelling mystery. Nadler and Thompson have produced a clever concoction of fear, anxiety, hope, compulsion, sympathy, horror, anger, and ultimately, futility. It has more going on emotionally than ten comics combined. And it all blends to make one of the best comics of the year. A thoughtful and engaging story that stays with you even after the final page.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

LONG BEACH COMIC CON Invades the Southland with William Shatner, Dave Gibbons, Cosplayers, and More

It's that time of year again when pop culture fans from all over Southern California and beyond descend on Long Beach to meet and greet some of their favorite stars from comic books, television, and movies. This year the 2017 Long Beach Comic Con offers some new exciting guests, panels, concerts, film festivals, cosplay contests, and an expansive Space Expo.


Visit downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3 for the annual Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center. This year's lineup includes legendary actor and cultural icon Star Trek's William Shatner speaking in the Main Stage room on Saturday as well as esteemed veteran comic writer and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
A con that still values comics will feature comic book vendors, artists, writers, and publishers. Approximately 100 other guests including animators, voice actors, and professional cosplayers will be participating in more than 100 entertaining and informative panels covering animation,…

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 …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work:

PREVIEW: 'Vampblade Season Two' #6 by Jason Martin and Marco Maccagni

With the new space vampire hybrid threat, Katie must seek help from her sworn enemy… Zombie Tramp! But they also need the help of another unlikely ally… DollFace!!


This Danger Doll Squad tie-in features 3 covers (regular, artist, and 90s style), each with a risqué variant as well!
VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #6 Writer(s): Jason Martin Artist Name(s): Marco Maccagni Cover Artist(s): Winston Young (Covers A-B), Marcelo Trom (Covers C-D),  Ben Hansen (Covers E-F) Cover A – Winston Young Main cover (unlimited) Cover B – Winston Young Risqué variant (limited to 2000) Cover C – Marcelo Trom Artist variant (limited to 1500) Cover D – Marcelo Trom Artist risqué (limited to 2000) Cover E – Ben Hansen 90s variant (limited to 1500) Cover F – Ben Hansen 90s risqué (limited to 2000)
32 pgs./ M / FC                   $4.99 














PREVIEW: 'Sheena' #1 by Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo, Moritat, and Dimi Macheras

When a dangerous group of mercenaries sent by Cadwell Industries accuses her village of murdering one of their men, Sheena is forced to make a deal. To save her home, Sheena now has twenty-four hours to find the missing man alive; if she fails, the mercenaries will attack—and they take no prisoners. But Sheena is not the only one hunting for the missing man...


Sheena: Queen Of The Jungle #1
writers: Marguerite Bennett, Christina Trujillo artist: Moritat, Dimi Macheras covers: J. Scott Campbell (A)               Ryan Sook (B)               Moritat (C)               Carli Ihde (D)               Cosplay Photo Variant (E)               Moritat (RI-Virgin)               Ryan Sook (RI-B/W)               J. Scott Campbell (RI-B/W)               Ryan Sook (RI-Virgin)               J. Scott Campbell (RI-Virgin) FC  •  32 pages  •  $3.99  •   Teen +  
In Stores 09/13/2017