I’m starting to think Image Comics is creating books not in a singular universe but simply running an anthology publication house. How many #1’s can they come out with per year that doesn’t connect to any of their other titles?! This is madness, but is it good?
Drifter #1 (Image Comics)
Written by Ivan Brandon, the story is heavily narrated by a drifter…okay no, he’s more of an astronaut pilot, who just escaped the crash landing of his spaceship. The hook of it all is the planet he landed on is a bit like a small town in the wild wild west, complete with drunks, backwater government and a lawlessness that is only contained by a few. What raises the stakes however is the weirdness of the alien planet; odd aliens, alcohol you breathe in and ever more oddities as the series progresses.
Spaceships and jets need fewer wires so the pilots don’t have to do this every time they hit water.
Of course, I immediately started to wonder what sets this comic apart from other western/science fiction stories, especially when Image has a similar book out at the same time called Copperhead. Well, to be honest this issue doesn’t do quite enough to separate the story and character from things we’ve seen before it, but the world is interesting enough to give this book a try. It’s obvious Brandon is building a world that’ll surprise and be heavily involved with the plot and story. We only get a glimpse of the aliens, but he approaches them using his character as most would, however with a different result than what we’d expect. The same goes for the alcohol, which is a gas that seems to do things to a person alcohol wouldn’t. These go a long way into creating a sense of mystery and wonder, so count me in on at least another issue.
The protagonist however, and his constant narration, doesn’t do a lot besides create a sense of depression and the usual lost cowboy, down on his luck, “what is happening to me” verbosity. He has the usual stubborn, impatient way characters have that gets them knocked in the back of the head when they exit a bar. In so many words, he’s just not that interesting…yet. The reveal on the last page suggests there’s a lot more to him, but for a first issue I really don’t know or care much for the character.
The artwork is straight up bangin’, however. Artist Nic Klein draws the characters in good detail that’s grounded and real, the landscapes are jaw dropping and the backgrounds detailed and gritty. Something about it gives me an Incal vibe and while it’s not quite as detailed as that, it is a good mixing of atmospheric and interesting backgrounds mixed with real looking characters. His colors make it all pop and do a number of things incredibly well. From cooler tones to darker, there’s a reason behind each choice and it helps set the mood.
Is It Good?
Drifter is a visual feast that’s a in a master class of storytelling with an interesting world and premise to explore.