Unlike some other sci-fi franchises, DRIFTER doesn't feel like it's holding your hand as you explore this new landscape. Settings like Ghost Town are swiftly revealed, characters are loosely introduced, and we see just enough to help us understand what sets this place apart from so many other sci-fi stories. They don't go over-the-top to make it drastically unique and it of course borrows some familiar elements, but enough is presented to grab our intrigue and make us want to see more. It's not a delightful or awe-inspiring place, but that's exactly the point and writer Ivan Brandon does a good job hitting us with the harsh reality of how unfortunate it is to be the the captain, Abram Pollux, who has crash landed here..
Pollux may be the "drifter," but it's cool that this entire setting feels like it's full of drifters. He has the spotlight and there isn't too much dialogue, but enough is presented to make the supporting characters feel like there's so much more to each of them. There's a lot of story potential here, so I'm excited to see how it's all going to play out from here. And that cliffhanger? It's safe to say no one saw that coming. It's certainly enough to make you want to stick around, isn't it? I'm trying to think about how it could make any sense, but we'll just have to wait and see what Brandon has in store for us. If you're going to speculate in the comments, please remember to use spoiler tabs.
As stated above, this planet's a harsh place. The air is thick, it looks ridiculously warm, and it's pretty much the polar opposite of lush. Despite the fact it's supposed to be a hellish place for the lead, artist/colorist Nic Klein still transforms it into a place I love to look at. Klein's artwork has an awesome amount of polish and depth to it. Everything from the environments to the characters feels alive and it's perfectly clear that so much work went into immersing us in this story. There's some really solid establishing shots and those moments do a terrific job making this story come to life. I especially loved the opening splash page; it's a nice blend of beauty and intensity. Quite a way to kick things off, right?
This first chapter is all about hooking our interest by establishing a ton of questions before giving us any firm answers. That's not necessary a "bad" thing, but it does feel like it's doing the mandatory legwork to quickly introduce all of these new elements. Obviously, good things come to those who wait, and this is all about making us ask a bunch of questions while basically learning the lay of the land. It almost feels like the calm before the storm. We've met the characters and the setting and had quick teasers for each, so now it's a matter of seeing where it'll all go from here. After this first chapter, I'm definitely feeling optimistic about what comes next.
DRIFTER immediately makes me think of several other franchises. For me, Dune, Borderlands and even Star Wars' Mos Eisley immediately come to mind as we're taken to a world where the air looks every bit as thick as it's described in the script and the world is pretty much down in the dumps. This may be a futuristic sci-fi universe, but this planet has apparently been left behind. DRIFTER isn't focusing on telling us about its unique universe or wowing you with the possible technology it possess. Instead, it's purely character-driven and does a good job teasing several things. The end of this first issue is going to leave you with a number of questions, but it's also going to make you want to stick around to see if they'll each be answered. It'll absolutely hook you. Thanks to some seriously impressive artwork and strong writing, DRIFTER's off to a solid start.