Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Drifter Vol. 2 - The Wake

I bought the first volume of Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein's Drifter a year ago, and eventually, I get around to volume 2. It picks up shortly after the previous volume ended, the town reacting to the preacher going on a murder spree and being killed by the sheriff, Lee Carter. The townsfolk are also coming to grips with the restrictions placed on them by their limited resources, and decide to do something about it. They head to a distant crash site to scavenge supplies, only to find another group there. Abram actually attempts to negotiate a truce, but this is wrecked by the "Boss" of the strange hivemind Wheelers that the humans delicately coexist with. Things end explosively.

The surface level of the story isn't much, but there's something they're trying to build beneath the surface. Something about how none of this is what the people think it is. Memories are a mess, people seem to forget things, but know they've forgotten something. Pollux thinks he just crashed, but the ship crashed over a year ago. And at the very end of this volume, we see that Emmerich, the man who shot Pollux almost as soon as he emerged from the ship's wreckage, has the same memory of trying to land the craft as Pollux. Are they both pilots, or sharing memories somehow?

Then there's what one of the Wheelers said, that they only came into existence as when the humans arrived, for the purpose of ridding this world of them. But that particular Wheeler lives with its one small gang of humans, rather than among the group in the town. And it mentioned that the humans have thus far been spared because they serve a purpose, but will be smashed if they step beyond it. Which applies to Wheelers as well, if that individual's fate is any indication. But the Boss Wheeler is choosing not to fulfill his purpose because the humans provide something. So ignoring the truth of things in favor of fruitless desires. Like Pollux, possibly like Lee, who is trying to come to grips with Jonah's death at the hands of the preacher.

So there's something kind of intriguing, but I'm not sure it's enough for me to pick up the next volume. Brandon's writing tries for something poetic, in this slightly stilted manner, and sometimes he overdoes it. 'I had this line I built across the sky. Bigger than anything had ever been. Pulled tight across the distance.' It grates, he's trying too hard for something. And I still don't know half the characters' names after 9 issues.

Klein's artwork is lovely, though. This volume is colored much darker than the first, most of the action taking place in a location the suns don't reach, or inside dingy bars. Characters stumbling in the dark, or traveling under a dark cloud, I don't know which. The violence as the two groups fight feels oddly distant, although Klein draws most of it from a middle distance perspective. Maybe because so much of the violence is done by either a Wheeler, who doesn't seem to really care what it's doing, or Pollux, who I'm not certain much cares, either. He shoots in one panel, a person's head vanishes in the next panel, which separates action and reaction. Plus none of the victim's allies react to it. The flying creatures are gorgeous, and the sequences of them trying to reach their target were beautiful, though you could question whether the pages would have been better spent on a little more story.

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