Back in 1989, Caliber Comics undertook publishing a gritty, supernatural revenge graphic novel written and illustrated by local detroit body shop employee James O’Barr. Described by the author as “pure anger on each page,” the comic went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies as well as spawn a highly successful 1994 film adaptation starring the late, great Brandon Lee. Regettably however, The Crow is one of those properties that, aside from its initial comic book inception and first feature film, has had nothing of interest to offer as a returning title. Much akin to say The Highlander, all its cinematic sequels (one of which featuring an all grown up, drug addled Edward Furlong) are a diminishing return of bargin bin garbage and every attempt at a spinoff/tie-in comic serves only to appease the ever lowering standards of the angst-ridden Hot Topic customer clientele. Sadly, IDW’s latest entry, The Crow: Memento Mori, is no different.
Written by Roberto Recchioni, Memento Mori introduces us to our latest undead avenger, David Amadio, an Italian alter-boy brutally run down alongside his girlfriend Sarah in a terrorist truck attack. With the aid of the eponymous Crow, Amadio hits the rooftops of Rome, seeking bloody justice toward those who aim to terrorize the citizens of his Western European community. While the issue features some legitimately good artwork by Werther Dell’Edera (nighttime spreads of the coliseum, rain-soaked effigies of Saint Michael, etc.), Recchioni’s writing fall into many of the same trappings that so many lesser Crow comics and short stories fall into: its text is a series of endless, melodramatic platitudes regarding heaven and hell, the nature of justice and love lost.
While some may give Reccioni contemporary points due to his timely plot regarding terrorism in Rome, the Catholic protagonist and Islamic antagonists carry uneasy socio-political implications despite the author having nothing of real relevance to say on the subject. As is, these loose character identities exist as little more than single-dimensional character costuming.
As for Amadio, our fearless hero himself: being 16 years of age, replete with Beiber haircut, Converse sneakers and cringeworthy lines like “Jesus rose from the dead in three days. It took me only one. Everything’s faster these days, don’t you know,” this character comes of as way too emo, even for a Crow title. Hell, even his grease paint is altogether unoriginal as it appears to be derivative of the face-paint featured on the female heroine in The Crow: Flesh and Blood. Despite the book’s disinterred main character, The Crow: Memento Mori fails to resurrect this all-too-tired franchise from the dead.