Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Comic Review: Drive #1

This was originally posted as a review for Word of the Nerd. Reposted here with slight modifications.

Drive started its life as a novel, then was adapted to a movie, and with Drive #1, IDW is now adapting the novel to comics. While the novel is considered a classic and the movie has a lot of critical acclaim, the comic is unfortunately not up to those standards.
My first problem is that this book just does not look good, or even distinctive. If you picture a comic series that tries to be gritty and street-level about criminals, you're picturing exactly what is in this book. Nothing about it looks original, and given the type of story being told here, a highly stylized look is a must.

The look is so important because of how the characters are handled. Being a novel originally, the characters and conflict is mostly internal. That's well fit to a novel, where the internal thoughts and struggles of the characters can be explicitly mentioned, but for a comic, it needs to come out visually, which is where my problem with the art becomes difficult to overcome.

 The problems are compounded further in that everything focuses on the driver. He is in almost every scene, including early on when he spells out that he is only the getaway driver, not a part of the heist. This means that, in this issue, all of the interesting things happen off screen, until the very end.  Even his involvement in the conflict there is not interesting enough to really make me care. It reminds me quite a bit of The Shrinking Man #1, which had a lot of the same problems, including the pacing from being adapted from a novel.

As a single issue, there's not really anything to keep me reading into the next issue. This will likely read much better as a trade, where the end of this issue is more of a chapter break than the last thing you'll see in this series for a month, so if you're really interested in it, wait for the trade to come out, but even then I have my doubts.

If you'd like to see more, find this article and others like it at Word of the Nerd, and many thanks to them for allowing cross-posting.

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