The Dregs

Comic Heroes - - Comics We Rate -

The cost of gen­tri­fi­ca­tion is ex­plored in this bit­ing new satire where the rich lit­er­ally eat the poor and des­per­ate. Set in Van­cou­ver (an in­ter­est­ing quirk com­ing as it does just months af­ter Ed Bris­son’s minis­eries The Vi­o­lent, which ex­plored sim­i­lar is­sues of poverty and drugs in the same lo­ca­tion), it’s a grimy, street-set mur­der mys­tery. Al­bert is a home­less drug ad­dict, but he’s no­ticed that his friends have started to go miss­ing. The po­lice are blam­ing it on the in­creas­ing num­ber of drug over­doses on the street, but could there be a more sin­is­ter rea­son? Ob­sessed with pulp noir nov­els, Al­bert nick­names him­self Mar­lowe and starts to in­ves­ti­gate...

The an­swer to the mys­tery is clear from the off – is­sue 1 opens with a man be­ing pumped full of drugs, then de­cap­i­tated and left to drain on a meat-hook – so we’re ahead of Al­bert, but Nadler and Thomp­son’s script does a fine job of get­ting into our strun­gout hero’s head. Zawadzki’s char­ac­ters have a touch of Char­lie Ad­lard about them, but it’s his al­most-apoc­a­lyp­tic – and dis­tress­ingly real – por­trayal of the city that stays with you. There’s some in­ven­tive lay­outs too, while Cun­niffe colours the piece with a murky mix of greys and browns that’s so tan­gi­bly dirty you may feel like you need to wash your hands after­ward.

There’s no sub­tlety in the metaphor here, but there is a pal­pa­ble anger at the state of a city both ris­ing in eco­nomic value and be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for many peo­ple to ac­tu­ally live in. Will Sal­mon

Not quite what we meant by “a night on the town”.

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