Rating: 3.5/5 – Nic Klein’s Art is the High Spot in a Somewhat Confusing Debut Issue.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Drifter opens quite strong. A massive ship comes crashing down into a planet, and main character Abram Pollux barely survives. After fighting through the ship’s wreckage that happens to be underwater he escapes, only to encounter more danger and mystery on an alien planet. From there things only get worse. He eventually wakes to find himself on a planet that’s newly inhabited by humans, giving the world an old west/new frontier feel. Writer Ivan Brandon and artist Nic Klein have partnered again to launch a new on-going science fiction series from Image after their critical success on Viking.
As strong as the opening of Drifter is, that same level of excitement didn’t carry on for me through to the end. Klein gives us just enough information and background to have the story make sense, but there’s plenty of questions left unanswered and a whole new world still left to explore. This lack of information made the second half of this issue feel confusing and, unfortunately, at times scattered. Although this may be on purpose, readers looking to find something a little more straight forward may pass on future issues because of it. There’s also scenes with Pollux and the characters he meets on this new planet where the dialogue feels messy and confusing, as you try to fit the pieces together. Pollux is a complicated character that we see through his own internal monologue, but when the characters around him also feel confusing because of the style of their dialogue, I thought it made the book more challenging than it needed to be.
Although the story required a second reading to have it make more sense, I didn’t mind because of Nic Klein’s gorgeous art. At times Klein’s art looks as though it was painted right on to the paper. Beautiful landscapes, an alien world, and a wonderful choice of colors all combine to make this book really stand out. The art feels softer than his work on Viking. His characters feel more real, and seem as though they have greater depth. The opening scene mentioned above is fantastically done as he shows off how versatile he can be by showing us space, nature, aliens and more all over the course of eight pages. Clem Robins lettering is also so well done using unique and creative ways to show off different languages and sound effects.
With more time will come more answers, but for now the art is truly driving this story and is reason enough for the confused reader to come back and find the answers to the multiple questions introduced in this opening issue. This is a creative team that has proven they’re more than capable of solid and entertaining storytelling, and I’m confident they’ll be able to get this on track and deliver with Drifter.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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