Another new series coming our way from Image this week is called Drumhellar. Like usual, I know nothing about this (other than the co-writer/artist apparently working on Beldam, which I’m so-so on), so I’m ready to be surprised by it. Is it good?
Drumhellar #1 (Image Comics)
Our story begins with a man in bathrobe, holding a golf club and raising it into the sky during a rain and lightning storm. Once it gets struck by lightning, a peacock raises out of a puddle and appears before him. And then from there, umm, things happen.
It’s going to be one of those comics, isn’t it?
If you recall my review of Justice League #23.3, I was left in a state of awe and confusion at what I had read at the time. It was completely bonkers, insane, erratic, and beyond weird. I personally thought I wouldn’t read anything like that again this year or even the next because I didn’t think I could find anything like it again for awhile. But lo and behold, here comes Drumhellar #1, right the fuck out of nowhere to trash that thought. This book is insane and so not in a good way.
Let’s start from the top with the story. I have no idea what is going on here. I got a vague idea of who people are and what might be their relationship with others, but motivations and personalities don’t seem to match up or have any internal continuity. The relationship with Drum and his ex, Padma, is implied often to be bitter and not much on friendly terms, especially when Padma confirms she does not like him. However, she constantly helps him, allows him to stay with her, and even has sex with him at the end. This relationship does not make sense.
There is absolutely no foundation for anything happening in this story, and combined with the horrendous pacing, flow, and dialogue this whole “story” does not make a tiny bit of sense. The story randomly jumps forward to different scenes without any transition (first we are at a diner and then boom! Suddenly we are at Padma’s place) and with no adequately explained reason for any character doing any of things they are doing, the writing feels so disjointed and poorly structured. What characters talk about will instantly switch topics at the drop of a hat or contradict themselves all the time (first she says she’ll kick him out after then she’ll makes him tea, but then for no reason, she says he can stay the night!). The story’s pacing is erratic, often showing unimportant scenes for way too long and rushes through scenes that should be explained (what the hell was up with the purple dinosaur hedge thing?!). Things need to be explained, but nothing ever is and the audience, especially me, is at a loss as to what is happening.
Yeah… I have no idea what is going on.
Since the audience has no idea what is happening and we know nothing about the characters since they feel constantly feel inconsistent, there is nothing here for the audience to latch onto. We do not care about any of these people, whatever their “deal” may be, or even the story itself. We barely know anything outside of some vague and poorly shown bad thing happening on the horizon without any hint or explanation about why it may be bad. The comic also just abruptly stops, like the writers got to a point and just gave up. Just a weird creature saying, “I’ll find you”, shoved to the bottom of the page with no care or thoughtful placement.
But what about the artwork? Surely there has to be something there? To that, I say no. Just no. This artwork is awful. The characters are ugly, with weird shadows and odd faces. It looks like ink has been dripped all over the pages with random black dots all over the place that makes this whole comic feel slightly unprofessional. The line work looks smudged and the overall shading bizarre, using a combination of black dots and a darker shade of the color the shadow is on to convey the darker parts. It just does not look appealing in the slightest, though that may be just me.
And his golf cart was never seen again. No seriously. Never appears again in this comic.
- One of the weirdest books to come out this year.
- The plot and characters make absolutely no sense.
- No foundation for the world and its rules.
- Horrific pacing, plotting, and structure.
- The artwork is unappealing.
Is It Good?
Drumhellar #1 is just flat out awful. It’s a comic that makes little to no sense, has no foundation for anything, the characters don’t make sense, and the artwork is ugly. It’s a comic that pretty much grabs the audience and tosses them into the deep end of a pool, hoping they can swim. If a comic starts like that and is this confusing, it will completely alienate its audience and drive most people anyway. As such, I cannot in good conscience recommend a mess like this. Avoid this book at all costs.