CROWDED VOL. 1 BY Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
The world runs on an economy of job shares and apps, including Reapr: a crowdfunding platform to fund assassinations. Charlie Ellison leads a quiet, normal life until she’s suddenly targeted by a million-dollar Reapr campaign. Writer Christopher Sebela along with artist Ro Stein & Ted Brandt present a kickass story about survival, friendship, and social media.
96 %
A killer good read!!

Today more than ever our lives revolve around mobile applications. Whether you need to order a pizza, look up driving directions, and perhaps even…. put a hit out on your neighbor? Comic writer Christopher Sebela (SHANGHAI RED, EVOLUTION) along with artist Ro Stein (CAPTAIN MARVEL) and Ted Brandt (CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE RODGERS) have crafted a killer story (pun intended) that revolves around mystery, humor, and some great action scenes. CROWDED Vol. 1 stars Charlotte Ellison, who has a huge problem: someone wants her dead. With the help of a bodyguard named Vita, Charlie has 30 days to figure out who wants to kill her. That is, if they can stay alive long enough to find out. This comic is bright, comical, and one you don’t want to miss.

Murder and Mystery in CROWDED Vol. 1

CROWDED VOL. 1 follows Charlotte Ellison (Charlie for short) who lives in a world run on an economy of job shares and apps, including one known as Reapr. Reapr allows people to start crowdfunding campaigns to put out a hit against anyone of their choosing. As fate would have it, someone puts out a hit on Charlie through Reapr, who is a bubble headed millennial working multiple jobs through shared job applications. To make matters worse the campaign has thousands of backers making the bounty over a million dollars to collect. The question here is, why Charlie?

Crowded Vol1
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Now, to ensure her survival, Charlie contracts the help of a woman named Vita Slatter through an application called Dfend. The two get off to a “great” start. Before Vita accepts to help Charlie, people are already trying to kill them. What transpires next is a solid action packed journey that involves staying alive, friendship, and the power of communication.

The Verdict

CROWED is a fantastic comic that gives an interesting perspective inside what happens when you pair a millennial with someone from Generation X. First, Charlie judges Vita because she drives a really old car. In this day in age and when dealing so heavily with social media, personal image is everything to today’s youth. Furthermore, the likelihood of seeing someone young like Charlie drive an older car is probably slim to none.

Also, it gives a glimpse into how current applications are changing the job market in our current economy. For example, they have stores without employees where machines serve you food. This closely mirrors the machine that recently started flipping burgers at a restaurant. CROWDED Vol. 1 gives us an almost close to reality look at how cell phones and automation dominate our lives.

Vita & Charlie

One of the best parts of CROWDED Vol. 1 is the character dynamic between Vita and Charlie. On one hand Charlie is the outgoing millennial who relies heavily upon technology. Her daily routine consists of various jobs such as dog walking, baby sitting, and driving jobs through various apps. Her life revolves around her phone. She’s so plugged into the matrix that she’s a little oblivious to the world around her.

Crowded-Friends Sort of
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

On the other hand, Vita is a lot more reserved and old school. She’s a bodyguard with a very low rating on the Dfend app, but don’t let that fool you. When Vita is defending Charlie, Vita is pretty bad ass. She’s hip to technology but not codependent on it like Charlie. Vita adds a great level of diversity to the story as well.

In addition, Sebela does a terrific job at showing their subtle differences amongst generations. Aside from the gun fire and chasing, Charlie and Vita learn from each other as well. Charlie teaches Vita not to be so antisocial. Vita shows Charlie how to be more dependent upon her using her own intuition and smarts.

The Creative Team of Ro Stein & Ted Brandt

Another great part about CROWDED Vol. 1 is the artwork. Ro Stein and Ted Brandt keep the tone of the visuals very light. Next, the pencil work is impeccable, keeping a keen eye on detail in the background and on individual characters. None of the pages feel rushed and the pacing is very well done. Stein and Brandt do an incredible job bringing Los Angeles to life in this great comic.

Crowded vol. 1
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Onwards to Volume 2

CROWDED Vol. 1 is a fun, humorously good time. To sum it up, the action was great, the dialogue is on point, and the visuals are top notch. It’ll be interesting to see what Sebela, Stein, and Brandt have in store for the second volume. If you haven’t read it already, get your hands on this book, you won’t be disappointed.

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