Tuesday, November 12, 2013

REVIEW: Drumhellar #1

Writer: Alex Link 
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Review: William R. Davis Jr. 

Just to give you a little back story, all throughout my University years, summers were spent in jam band parking lots. I can recite every line of The Big Lebowski and Easy Rider verbatim. And in the last day I've listened to A Love Supreme and watched Eraserhead. The last three sentences are important because I don't want you thinking that I am at all adverse towards surrealism or psychedelia. Street cred established, Image's latest number one, Drumhellar, is the drug fueled, genre bending tale of a paranormal detective and his purple ghost sidekick. Through the caveat I'm guessing you know the direction this review is going. The need to establish street cred before delving into an all out negativity parade speaks volumes about the content of this new title by Image.   

Almost all of the ingredients are there, a bi-sexual, trailer dwelling, voodoo lady ex-girlfriend, their shared bi-sexual werewolf ex-girlfriend, peyote, talking specters, psychedelic flowers, and even though you get all of these things in twenty two pages of Drumhellar #1, this is a book that you should put down immediately. There are some highlights, Riley Rossimo brings his A game throughout half of the book. The drug stuff is drawn well, but sober Drum Hellar is some kind of visually bland pop art throwback that keeps the book from excelling artistically. The real problem is in the writing. There is no coherent plot, and for a title that is trying to blend noir, spiritual drug visions, and arthouse together, the lack of a plot is truly what makes this book unreadable. Issue one is not a book that deliberately tries to be disorienting, it tries to establish characters and develop a narrative, something that is integral for the noir aspect of the story, but the execution comes out bafflingly incoherent. After my third read I still have absolutely no idea what Alex Link is trying to accomplish in issue one. I don't really know what happens in Drumhellar #1, and that is not sarcasm.

Sales are good though; Drumhellar #1 is sold out. This is undoubtedly more a combination of a small print coupled with the underground success of the creative team's last endeavor Rebel Blood, which was incredible and received high marks from fans and critics alike. There has been a lot of negativity spread around in my reviews these days, and I've found myself reflecting on this recently. Are these books really that bad? Short answer: Yes.

There are a lot of monthly titles out now that I love, unfortunately the ones that I am designated to review come up way short. Drumhellar is a confusing, train wreck of a comic, even the cover is lacking; both uninteresting and a poor use of space. Instead of buying this book, I encourage you to get the trade of Rebel Blood. There is no doubt in my mind that issue one selling out will pique the interest of Image fans everywhere, but when it comes to this title, don't believe the hype. There's a chance that all of the writing kinks can get ironed out in subsequent issues of Drumhellar, but artistically the book is only halfway there. I don't see that aspect of this series changing any time soon.


No comments:

Post a Comment