Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein’s “Drifter” #2 picks up in the aftermath of Abram Pollux’s terrible realization that he has been set adrift for far longer than he thought and gets worse from there. Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein are weaving a beautiful and mysterious tapestry around Pollux and the inhabitants of Ghost Town, a very dangerous and unfamiliar world filled with fantastic threats and problems that look familiar but become very complicated. A comic book with a very unique design, voice, and art style, “Drifter” is quickly shaping up to be one of Image’s best new launches in a year full of great debuts.
Brandon’s script, taut and full of unique character voices, challenges Pollux as he struggles to come to terms with how much time he has lost. We experience the confusion and stubbornness of someone in this situation as he refuses to believe Lee’s prognosis, and his insistence on reaching what remains of his ship in order to retrieve the one thing he knows he can still hold from his old life. When that photo is destroyed during an attack by scavengers — fantastically designed and begging for cosplay next convention season — his mood changes to fury as he unleashes his rage on the attackers. Klein’s clean lines are complimented by his own lush color work, creating incredible moods and enhancing the story. The luminescence of the underwater sea creatures and the horrifying glow of “the bear” are true standouts here. His page design is well considered; as Pollux falls from the tower the panels are stacked in such a way to create an emotional weight to the tumble. Panels are designed to lead the reader’s eye through the action, but also cleverly constructed to pull the eye towards the impact point of the page itself. When the bear is revealed during Lee and Abram’s escape, the layout of the panels above subtly point down towards the final, larger panel where the creature stands lone and tall, creating power and fear for a new threat in a single pose.
Veteran letterer Clem Robbins comes on board to give the book a hand lettered grit that is a welcome feel for the beauty of the art. Everything in the book feels hand-crafted, with digital elements laid overtop.
Pollux is shaping up to be an interesting, complex study. He’s forced to be a hero in the story, merely out of survival. His mood is accentuated by the barren terrain of the action in the first half of the book. He is a lone man among the lone and level sands, lost and desparate for something to shield him from the horror show his life has suddenly become. It’s only when he returns to civilization and is presented with a task that would allow him control over his life once again that he springs to life, almost purely on instinct. His survival instincts may be the only things that pull him through this episode and on to someplace where he can wrap his mind around what is happening.
“Drifter” #2 is yet another feather in the cap of Image Comics who have curated a mind-blowing lineup of spectacular sci-fi books in 2014. It’s a near-total package and only two issues in is definitely a comic to watch in 2015.