4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because for a long time good sci-fi comics were few and far between. You rarely saw anything of note outside of Heavy Metal. Now, I know most superhero books can be considered sci-fi, and there’s lots of sci-fi movie and tv show tie-ins ( Thank you Dark Horse and Dynamite), but I mean GOOD sci-fi. HARD sci-fi. Larry Niven, Stephen Baxter, Philip K. Dick sci-fi. Cerebral, intense sci-fi.
Over the past few years Image Comics has pumped out some great, creator owned, original concept, well constructed sci-fi titles that have blown my mind.
Titles like Planetoid, Remender’s Black Science and Low, Saga, Prophet, Ellis’s Trees, and anything by Jonathan Hickman have lasered out a nice new niche for quality science fiction storytelling over at Image, and Brandon and Klein’s Drifter is right up there on that list.
Command Pilot Abram Pollux has been shot in the gut by a masked stranger on an alien world. This was after crash landing his starship, nearly drowning, adapting to a non-earth atmosphere and barely surviving an encounter with a member of the indigenous species. And alll of this happens in the first 8 pages!! There’s a sense of panicked urgency to Brandon ‘s story and the character of Pollux himself that continues through the rest of the book.
Brandon puts you in the same state of lost confusion as the main character when he regains consciousness inside a medic station in small lawless human colony called Ghost Town.
It’s here we meet Lee, the town Sheriff/Doctor and Arkady, the zealot priest, both of whom attempt to guide Pollux through his new surroundings. First stop, the local bar. And not so surprisingly, things go from bad to worse there, leading Pollux to head into the sunset looking for his ship. The twist when he finds it is a great cliffhanger, and the story leaves you wanting more and filled with questions. Why did the starship crash? Why don’t guns work on this planet? Why does Pollux feel he deserves to die? And what the hell is up with the beer on this planet?
Nick Klein did an admirable job filling in on Captain America and Thor, but he really goes over the top here. His pencils have a Ron Garney-like line work to its style, with crisp, clear lines and detailed rendering. His characters have a uniqueness and realism to their features and expressions that really make them distinct individuals. What really impressed me was checking to see who the colorist was ( I would’ve sworn it was Bellaire or Martin ), and finding out Klein did the full color art himself. Very impressive Mr. Klein, very impressive. Klein’s palette captures the sci-fi-western-noir-mystery feel the creative team is going for.
Craving something not bogged down in continuity of a big company, yet intelligently written, exciting to read and masterfully drawn?’This is the book for you!