REVIEW: Crashing #1 by IDW Publishing

  • Crashing #1 cover

    Crash #1

    Writer:
    Matthew Klein

    Artist:
    morgan beem

    Letterer:
    Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

    Cover artist:
    morgan beem

    Editor:
    Editorial IDW

    Price:
    $3.99

    Release date:
    2022-09-21

    Colorist:
    triona farrell

Mainstream superhero comics often show medical emergencies from the perspective of heroes who keep their wits or suffer serious setbacks. While the focus remains on the main characters, the most overlooked people in this setting are the medical staff experiencing their own ups and downs in a metahuman society. The creative team of writer Matthew Klein, artists Morgan Beem and Triona Farrell, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou present a medical drama set in a world where people with superpowers have become nothing more than political liabilities. An original IDW production, dash #1 tries to do something different with the subgenre and tells a gripping story.


dash Issue #1 follows Rose Osler, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who is on the last leg of her 16-hour shift when EMTs bring two unidentified men to the ER. Osler sees that the first person has overdosed, and just as she prepares to open the second person’s eye to check her pupil, a bolt of energy shoots out, injuring her. Against the hospital’s mandate, she saves the superhero’s life. But soon, a mysterious person calls out to her, jumps into her car and arrives at the pier. Entering a mysterious clean room, she finds a man lying on the operating table, the supervillain who got into a fight with her superpatient.

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The story begins even before the first page. On the credits page, readers can read notes in a patient’s chart directing hospital staff to deny treatment to people with superpowers. Writer Matthew Klein immediately introduces the premise and provides the necessary exposition in one fell swoop, giving readers a glimpse into the world of dash #1. The focus remains on the protagonist, whose self-deprecating narration subtly reveals the minute details of her work and her home, while the dialogue picks up the rest of the narrative load. It’s a bumpy ride that takes painful trips into Rose’s past as an addict, and the present makes her recovery even more difficult. The building suspense keeps the reader glued to the pages, gradually building empathy for Rose’s plight.

Artist Morgan Beem’s framing and positional awareness add volume to the book with intricate background designs that provide audiences with visual clues that make dash #1 a living and throbbing story. From patients in excruciating pain to Rose dealing with depression, the painful details show the reality of an ER in more ways than words can convey. Wavy contour lines and bold shading work behind the scenes, ominously displaying Rose’s waning energy levels like a vector of heartbeats, and Triona Farrell’s lush colors revitalize still images with more hustle and bustle. The colors bring out a range of emotions, especially the monochrome panels drenched in primary tones.

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Addiction and recovery can be a trigger issue and, if not done right, can have disastrous results. Thankfully, dash #1 handles it with care and presents it in such a way that comic fans around the world can feel the thrills. Klein’s protagonist is not some unfortunate damsel in distress in need of rescuing. But even with her strong ideals, circumstances conspire against her and force her to contemplate breaking her promise. This tug-of-war of her inner self drives the book through the chaotic narrative and crashes in the final scene of dash #1 on a cliffhanger.

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