Rating: 4/5 – When Gentrification, Mystery, and Horror Collide.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The Dregs is not for the squeamish. The opening sequence has a man being butchered and made into sausage which is ultimately served at a restaurant filled with trendy diners. That said, the story that Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler are telling here is a powerful one.
The growth of a city (in this case Vancouver, British Columbia) has that point where it moves into decline and there is a run down urban area with homeless people, drugs, crime, etc. As has happened in many cities, developers realize there is money to be made in revitalizing those urban areas and little thought is given to the displacement of the “residents” who manage to eke out a living amongst the squalor. The story follows Arnold, a resident of the streets, who is trying to find out what happened to his missing pal Manny. There are many players in the story; Arnold and the other denizens of The Dregs, the developers and politicians, the cops, drug dealers, and other more mysterious people. The art, by Eric Zawadzki, is well suited to the subject matter and not at all “super-hero standard”. Zawadzki was either purposely or subconsciously modeling one of the female characters Arnold interacts with on Gillian Anderson, but in general the art did a great job of setting the stage and telling the story.
The Dregs is a great example of what Black Mask does best: edgy comics with a touch of a social awareness message mixed in to add flavor to the story. I found the underlying mystery to be gripping, particularly after the gut-punch of the horrific opening sequence. Ultimately I was rooting for the protagonist in his search for his friend and against the greedy politicians and businessmen who were in it to line their own pockets with little regard for the well-being of others. If you’d like to try a comic that plays well outside the realm of the capes and cowls, The Dregs is worth a look.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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