Every single one of us has felt the need for revenge at some time or another. What if that burning anger in your heart was enough to bring you back from the dead to exact your vengeance? Would you embrace it and the power that comes with it? The Crow: Skinning The Wolves is all about vengeance and justice, though it does lean a lot heavier towards vengeance more often in this story. Not that justice isn’t served. No, justice is served up steaming hot in the dead of winter, in a very sudden manner. But then, The Crow has always been about turning the tables on those that commit atrocities and embrace evil.
Ever since I first read the original story of The Crow by James O’Barr, I have been fascinated by the concept of a supernatural being that exists to deliver justice and bring a sense of peace to those who were wronged in life. With a familiar in the guise of a crow, these restless spirits are housed once again in the bodies they once inhabited. The crow leads them to their prey and grants them their un-life until they have completed their tasks that will allow them to find peace.
In some stories the crow itselfÂ is extremely interactive, whereas in other tales the bird is seldom seen. This story falls mostly into the latter category, as the main character knows exactly where to find his killer, though his winged companion does help him remain focused on the job at hand.
This story is bloody in a very gory kind of way, more so than you might imagine. Taking place during World War II, we bear witness to a concentration camp where the Jewish are being sorted, tortured and slain by the thousands. Our slightly disfigured (and quite dead) anti-hero enters the camp and begins a bloodbath unlike anything the Nazis have seen before. My favorite quote from the story sums it up completely: “…nothing will save you. Tonight you all die.”
I won’t spoil the story but suffice to say the commandant has history with our angry and dangerous friend. The nefarious leader of this camp reveals himself to be even more brutal and cruel than we first think, toying with people’s lives and the lives of their families for the sake of his own twisted entertainment. It is this sadistic behavior that has brought him to this fate. Eventually he recognizes the man as one of his victims but by then it is too late, his fate is sealed. He is forced to remember the pain that our protagonist endured and then… Well, then the tale comes to a close and I would hate to speak out of turn. It a really great story of a man who finds himself with the power to right wrongs. The fact that it takes place during The Holocaust only makes it that much more tragic.
The introduction to the graphic novel gives us some background on how the concept of the story came to O’Barr. It also explains how and why he wanted Jim Terry to assist in adapting the story (and pretty much all the art), a pretty interesting tale that only partially has to do with the book itself. The two things I took away from this comic were that the horrible things the Nazis did should never be forgotten, lest we one day find it repeated, and that I still really like The Crow. I’m a pretty vengeful person and I can hold a grudge for decades (I know it’s not healthy but that’s probably why I identify with the Red Lantern Corp so much, I am definitely full of anger). O’Barr has managed to capture some of the worst feelings that mankind can exhibit and turn them into something that maybe isn’t nice but is most certainly cathartic. It was a great story with passable art, but this is one of those comics where it’s all about the emotion behind the story, the underlying feelings that it creates. I would recommend this to adults only as the scenes are a bit graphic even if they aren’t super detailed. If you liked any of the other Crow books, you’ll love this one just as much. Pick it up while you can, these are sure to go fast.