Charlie Keeps Trying To Get Herself Killed In Crowded #2

by Brendan M. Allen

The million dollar Reapr goal on Charlie Ellison’s head keeps going up, drawing more unqualified and over-armed users to try and kill her and her bodyguard Vita, who’s desperately trying to keep her only client alive. When the sanctity of Vita’s home is invaded and they have to find a new safehouse, they’re dragged through some dark corners, and begin to uncover who started this campaign.

There’s an almost two million dollar bounty on Charlie’s head, and, against her extremely experienced and proficient body guard’s advice, she’s still doing really, really dumb stuff. After the events of Crowded #1, Charlie and Vita could have just laid low in Vita’s safehouse and rode this thing out for the next 29 days, 7 hours, and 38 minutes. Instead, Charlie insists on breaking Vita’s rules and gleefully inviting her own demise.
In the opening sequence of Crowded #2, a ragtag group of would-be assassins kick in Vita’s door to try their luck. This group of hillbillies has definitely done their homework, but badly misread the available intel. The sextet doesn’t prove much of a challenge, but the activity has caught the eye of law enforcement and every other REAPR assassin. With her safehouse blown and her client continuing to work against her best efforts, the challenges keep stacking up for Vita.
Christopher Sebela keeps the tone light, despite the inherent nature of the story. Sure, this thing’s centered on contract killing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way, right? We get a little more background on Vita, and a whole lot more information about Charlie. She’s not nearly as simple or innocent as she presented herself in the last chapter. It’s still not perfectly clear why someone opened the REAPR campaign, but as we get to know her more, it isn’t even slightly shocking that someone would.
Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell carry that surprisingly light-hearted mood through the artwork in this second chapter. Stein’s cinematic angles and brilliant spreads, Brandt’s clean finish work, and Farrell’s rose-tinted palette give this thing a deceptively simple, sexy look. I also have to give Cardinal Rae props for integrating SFX into muzzle flashes. It’s one of those seemingly small details that makes a scene. There’s no distraction from the firefight, because the SFX is literally a visual part of the action.
Crowded is a fantastically dark, yet surprisingly light look at modern society and interaction. Constantly connected, yet hopelessly disconnected. I absolutely love that Christopher Sebela integrated his favorite childhood book (The Little House). Personal touches. Murder. Tiny dogs and redneck car karaoke. Digging this book.
Crowded #2, Image Comics, released 12 September 2018. Written/Designed by Christopher Sebela, Pencils by RO Stein, Inks by Ted Brandt, coloured by Triona Farrell, letters by Cardinal Rae, logo by Dylan Todd, variant cover by Skylar Patridge.

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