Crowded #6 is published monthly by Image Comics and written by Christopher Sebela, illustrated by Ro Stein, inked by Ted Brandt, colors by Triona Farrell and lettered by Cardinal Rae. Issue number six represents the end of the first arc in the series.
It is a wild and woolly tale about a death race being filmed in Los Angeles for the enjoyment of a viewing audience. It pits the protagonist, a female driver named Vita, her partner Charlie, and their wee dog against self-driving autos and nefarious traps. This is not a cute game where the action and stunts are mere SFX. Nope. This is to the death, and the show-runners try, in very outrageous ways, to kill the players.
Crowded #6 makes for a very different mood of comic, from the idea to end the race to the behind the scenes drama between the show-runners, the fallout, and destructive hell going on.
The art by Stein, Brandt, and Farrell offers a pleasing, almost cartoon vibe with animation style colors that gives the serious, bloody, carnage ensuing escapades of the issue an almost safe feeling.
It’s in the dialogue that one finds a world of absolute distrust, power plays, hardheartedness, conniving and a sense of people trying to find some semblance of self and peace in a world where little is private or serene. The divergent goals of Vita and Charlie will make finding peace all the harder.
For me, I found the dialogue at the beginning a little wordy, and one particular scene showing a fiendish plan to be too simplistic in the drawing. I’m certain it was done like that on purpose to evoke a specific mood, but I didn’t like it.
Overall, I love the artwork in Crowded #6. It showed an almost cyberpunk landscape in a modern animation format that made it seem welcoming, and that made it a bit cunning. Stein is also a pro at giving characters great faces, hairstyles, and a wide variety of body shapes, just like you would see in the real world, but types many comic book worlds simply ignore in favor of reams and reams of beach bodies and six-pack abs.
Each character presented in this issue is unique in look and persona. There is a great deal of tension between everyone in their dialogue, antagonisms, and feuds. But, it sets up nicely the road ahead, both in a figurative and literal sense, for our hard fighting heroines.
All told, the story wraps up well and opens up for a look into the broader universe of Crowded. I look forward to seeing where it goes and shudder at how much more crazy this version of the US has to offer.
For those on the hunt for titles with LGBTQ+ characters, grab this one. Crowded #6 offers representation in its main character Vita, who daring and bold in her driving and action.
Crowded #6 makes for a very different mood of comic, from the idea to end the race to the behind the scenes drama, the fallout, and destructive hell going on.
William J. Jackson is a small town laddie who self publishes books of punk genres, Victorian Age superheroes, rocket ships, and human turmoil. He loves him some comic books, Nature, Star Trek, and the fine art of the introvert.