The final installment of DePins’ quirky trilogy about an unusual species of crab sees central crab characters Sunny, Boater, and Guitar involved in events larger than themselves—both in and out of the water. Some of the square (or marbled) crabs, a variety unique to France’s Gironde Estuary, have recently acquired the ability to change directions, while others remain unable to evolve and can move only in straight lines. After the marbled crabs stage a revolution against larger crabs and lobsters, their population grows tremendously. But a schism forms between the “rigid” crabs and the “turners,” and division increases when some crabs consider taking steps that even the turners think might be going too far.
Meanwhile, the human residents along the Gironde are facing difficulties of their own. A recent shipwreck and oil spill have threatened tourism, and a public relations campaign promises to clean up the area. Various tourists encountered in the prior volumes are seen again in this book, as is a documentary film crew whose movie about the marbled crabs may have exaggerated their reputation as a menace to the community. How will the crabs fare with the odds against them?
The artwork in this volume features a limited color palette creating a vintage feel. Scenes are colored according to location with underwater scenes in dark grays, reds, and greens, while light blues and yellows are used for scenes on the beach. Humans are drawn with long and angular bodies and severe facial features in most cases, though tourists are more rounded and jocular so as to be distinguished from the corporate and political types. While the story never clearly casts characters in good or evil roles, the illustrations often depict them as either heroic or sinister through the use of color, facial expression, and other cues: the lobsters have skull and cross-bone patterning on their backs, for example.
The complexity of this volume, and the series as a whole, makes it best suited for more sophisticated readers. There are numerous simultaneous plotlines to follow, and some of them are more mature in theme. The Revolution of the Crabs can easily be read in one sitting, but readers may need repeated readings to contemplate the meaning of each piece of the story. Questions abound concerning the impact of humanity upon nature, and the course nature takes on its own, along with the impact of decisions made by government authorities and the media. Although this comic looks simple, DePins’s messages are anything but. Readers who approach it with an open mind will find themselves with a great deal of thinking to do.
The March of the Crabs, Vol. 3: The Revolution of the Crabs 3
By Arthur DePins
Art by Arthur DePins
Boom! Studios, 2018
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