Lately, Black Mask Studios has been coming out with a lot of interesting content, captivating a large chunk of my reading. I’ve grown fairly attached to a couple titles, so when I had the opportunity to review one of their newest titles The Dregs, I was completely stoked. Known for their dirty art style, and amazingly well developed stories, I was hooked almost from the first page.
Written by the talented Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, with the on point illustrations of Eric Zawadzki, this title is a bit of a mind twist title. Taking place on the banks of Vancouver, British Columbia, we are quickly introduced to the basis of the story. Using homeless vagrants to harvest items such as clothes, teeth, hair, and in the end, their meat. Yeah, so we take a quick turn into the world of cannibalism. As awful as it sounds, it is shown in a very interesting light.
The Dregs is the name given to an extremely poor area of town in Vancouver, where a lot of the homeless live. Think of it as a resort for those less fortunate, minus the food, water, medicine, spa, and anything resembling a normal life. Dumpster diving Arnold, a homeless extraordinaire, is awoken to the sounds of a young man telling him that a friend of his (Manny) has been missing for three days. It’s rather obvious that the man who is killed in the start of the book is Manny, as he has been missing the right amount of time based on the books current time line.
Also, it would make sense to introduce Arnold into the story as looking for a vengeance for his friend. That and being a drug addled paranoia driven man, kind of helps drive the story of remorse, revenge, and revelations. Realizing that the homeless are disappearing all over without a single trace of them initiates his journey of the reason behind the disappearances. More than that though, he notices patterns in the disappearances and the recent major developments happening in the city. A conspiracy that is damn near perfect for a man who is already paranoid.
The writing in this comic is clean and concise. It portrays the feeling of loss, love, and abandonment, while touching a bit on the mental illness that heavy drug use can cause. You are never fully sure if Arnold is experiencing real emotions, or drug fueled nightmares, but it is an amazing way to keep us guessing. Mix that with the VERY gritty art style, and you get an awesomely dark and interesting story.
RECOMMENDATION – Anyone who enjoys dark tones, startling discoveries, and seeing a man who is overcoming a lot in life just to try and protect those he loves, will find this story very interesting. I would classify it as an adventure drama for sure.
Let the boys at the store know if you want this title added to your file, so we can make sure you enjoy it to the best you can. It is a bit graphic, but honestly a great read.