Homeless people are disappearing in The Dregs, and no one cares except one of their own. The new Black Mask Studios series gets its name from the five-block area of Vancouver that has become the herding ground for the city’s homeless population in the near future, and members of the homeless community are starting to mysteriously vanish as the territory becomes a new target for gentrification. These missing persons are being butchered, cooked, and served to unknowing patrons of the fine dining establishments popping up in the neighborhood, and The Dregs #1 does exceptional work capturing the horror of this practice and the paranoia that takes over the main character, Arnold, as he investigates the string of disappearances.
Writers Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson have crafted a chilling Grand Guignol narrative rooted in major issues facing big cities, and the first issue of The Dregs puts readers deep in this environment as Arnold begins his search. This preview of The Dregs #1 shows Arnold making his first moves to uncover what’s going on, and these pages give a strong impression of the bleak desperation that has taken hold of this community. Eric Zawadzki’s artwork with colorist Dee Cunniffe reinforces the sullen, gritty atmosphere that Arnold tries to escape through hallucinogenic drugs, and his change in perception after getting high is reflected in the linework and coloring. The buzz is killed when he discovers the empty lot that used to contain the building his missing friend lived in, introducing the first clue that sends Arnold down a path that could lead to his demise. Readers can follow Arnold down that path when The Dregs #1 hits stores on January 25, but in the meanwhile, here’s a taste of what’s in store.