Review - Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Are you okay? I think I should call someone--"

A fall from grace is rarely (if ever) graceful. The entertaining aspect of seeing someone like Jerri Bartman in Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 from Dark Horse Comics fall from grace is the amount of weirdness she has to overcome on her way back to the top. The issue is written by David Dastmalchian, illustrated by Lukas Ketner, colored by Lauren Affe and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic.

Aspiring reporter Jerri Bartman is furious when she's demoted to hosting the nightly Creature Feature at her small-town TV station. But Jerri quickly learns that there is more to horror hosting than just introducing bad B-movies. Her first night in the costume of her missing predecessor, Count Crowley, finds her face to face with a living, breathing...werewolf. Or was she just that drunk?

Jerri is a reporter with a drinking problem and--as such--her personality and personal issues are what drive the narrative. That's not the entirety of the story though, as there's something of a misdirect in the issue that affords Dastmalchian an opportunity to infuse the issue with a general sense of whimsy. Dastmalchian spends much of the issue exploring Jerri's issues as a means of establishing the plot twist at the end where Jerri learns that sometimes fiction is truth. Aside from Jerri's character development though, there's not much else that Dastmalchian focuses on in terms of setting up the subsequent issues. The plot feels like it's there, but it's going to take a few issues to firmly establish itself.

Ketner's artwork is a nice throwback to the pulpy comics of yesteryear. Jerri's transformation from on-the-spot reporter to late night variety show host is well done, convincing the reader that such a transformation plays based on Jerri's personality. Ketner is particularly adept at capturing the emotions of the characters with simple linework and crosshatching, drawing the reader further into the world being created. The panels are neatly arranged and provide for a structured way to move along the pages without getting lost. Affe's colors are dim and dull, tying into the overarching narrative very well and helping to establish the proper atmosphere for the events that transpire.

Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 is a fun twist on late night horror shows that doesn't take itself too seriously. Jerri is very out of her element in her new role as a horror show host and with that comes plenty of expected mishaps. Dastmalchian's script is heavily focused on establishing Jerri as someone who doesn't realize how much worse things can get. Ketner's illustrations are a good bit of nostalgia in their approach and presentation. Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 is a pretty fun first issue that doesn't require a tremendous investment on the part of the reader to enjoy what happens.

Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter #1 is available now.