The Ride was a series conceived to give different creators a “vehicle” to tell stories in 2005. Set around the unifying element of the 1968 Camaro, the stories contain noir, sex, death, and mayhem. In honor of the 15th anniversary of the series, Doug Wagner, Daniel Hillyard, Lara Martin, Adam Hughes, and Ed Dukeshire deliver two stories in this first issue of a five-part series.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
THE RIDE celebrates its 15th anniversary with a five-part story from the award-winning team of PLASTIC, plus a special backup feature from ADAM HUGHES! After serving a hard 15 years in prison on a murder plea, former Atlanta P.D. detective Samantha Vega now makes her living as a bouncer at an exotic dance club. But life on the outside isn’t easy, especially when enemies have scores to settle…
Why does this matter?
As Wagner put it in a press release, “How about…Unicorn onesies, love paddles, leather bunny ears, a guy in a Sailor Moon outfit that’s way too tight, an angel with only one arm and a heroin problem, a hairless dwarf, and a disavowed detective whose past desperately wants her burned alive–are all going to take a road trip in a classic ’68 Camaro that may or may not be cursed. The Ride 15th anniversary is going to be a wild, disturbing, and excessively violent tale of redemption. Welcome to what I like to call FETISH NOIR!”
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with the main story by Hillyward and Wagner focusing on detective-turned-bouncer Samantha Vega who has done some time after a very terrible mistake in her past. The creative team does a good job establishing her subtle detective skills and how it keeps her alive while also revealing the curse she lives with every day. There’s a fun layer of weirdness thanks to the club featuring elaborate and funky costumes for its dancers. The story sets up the main character and gets readers ready for the big turn for the next issue.
The backup is by Wagner and Hughes and is positively delightful. Set in 2013 in South Carolina, a woman is attacked and must free herself from the monstrous bastards that want to do terrible things to her. It’s violent, highly stylized, and suits the genre of this book. Hughes’ art steals the show with dynamic panel work, utilizing the color of a pink unicorn costume nicely. There’s also a scene that uses close-ups of eyes very well. It captures your imagination thanks to how it tells its story. It’s the type of story that could have easily felt run of the mill, but it feels electric.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The main story is a bit simple, consisting of just three scenes. The plot progression could have at least gotten us far enough to know what is going to motivate Samantha. The art isn’t bad by any means, but it’s a simpler style, not helped any by the flat and somewhat boring bar environment. It comes off as especially simple when held up next to Hughes’ work.
Is it good?
This first issue establishes its story well and then hits you in the teeth with a highly dynamic one-shot backup story. Together it offers a lot of promise for a violent, edgy, showstopping noir tale.