Crimson Flower #1 - Review

by Olivier Roth on January 20, 2021

Writer: Matt Kindt

Art: Matt Lesniewski

Colors: Bill Crabtree

Published by: Dark Horse Comics


There are many ways to start a new series, and Crimson Flower by Kindt, Lesniewski and Crabtree blazes out of the gates. Unlike a lot of other comics that may take the first half-dozen pages to establish characters and background, the creators give the reader the bare minimum - we are introduced to a nameless protagonist, referred to in the narration as simply “She”, playing around in her father’s study and reading her favorite book: Slavic Folklore. That’s page 1. On page 2, the reader is moved to the present where it is explained, in narration, that the little girl is now a grown woman, working as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company in Russia, making her rounds of doctor’s offices, all the while being supplied by her employers with a prescription - all the while, the narration remains pretty vague. 


The action starts off once the protagonist is able to get a name from the latest doctor or a man she has been looking for, and from there, the action begins. We get more of her backstory, namely why she is looking for this man, and we get some storytime and some world building. 


Lesniewski and Crabtree are not an art team that I am familiar with, this being probably the first work I’ve seen of there’s, but after a few pages in, I really started to like the style. Two words  kept popping into my head the whole time I was reading through this issue and they are vibrant and visceral. Vibrant because  that is the perfect word to describe the colors used throughout by Crabtree. It didn’t matter whether it was in well lit panels vs the more cavernous depictions, the colors really stand out from the page and allow the pencils to pop. 


As for visceral, that is entirely because of Lesniewski’s style. His pencils (and probably inks as well), distort the bodies of the characters to fit the tone of the scene - at more than one point, the character’s bodies will be a reflection of what is going on in the story, whether that be elongating to express anger and hurt, or being large or small, to describe the power dynamic being showcased. However, you don’t just see this in the bodies of the characters - Lesniewski makes sure to distort the backgrounds as well to match the tone of the issue. 


After reading this first issue, I am fairly sure that I understood what I was reading, but knew as well that this story could go in any number of directions. I read Kindt’s Mind MNGT years ago, and Crimson Flower gives off a lot of the same vibes story wise and piqued my curiosity - a good thing with a first issue. It makes you want to see more.

Our Score:


A Look Inside