Drifter: A Brief Disruption of Tranquility on a Wednesday Afternoon in the West
Written by Tres Dean
Art: Jamie Jones
Lettering/Design: Kate Durré
The Wild West, filled with dusty, one horse towns, the typical saloon, and now mech-suits. Drifter, written by one of IGN’s comic reviewers, Tres Dean, captures the appeal of the old west with a sci-fi twist. The comic’s eponymous drifter is our protagonist, and we enter on a scene inside a town’s saloon. Almost in an expected fashion, a bandit walks in and demands the contents of the safe from the woman at the bar, and the drifter steps in, the bandit commenting that this man should be dead. In a post-western story, this sequence of events is easy to follow to the point of almost becoming trite. It is not until the two step outside onto the single street does the comic’s unique spin kick in. Instead of having an epic and tense quick-draw shootout, the combatants power up mech-suits and slug it out.
With this story being told in an Old West style, it is important to examine the duality between the protagonist and the antagonist. Starting with the scene where the bandit enters the saloon, the drifter is positioned lower in the frame to show how much power the would-be robber has in the situation with his hostage. Even during the mech-suit fight, the antagonist is positioned higher in the frame to still show that the balance of strength is still in his favor, up until the drifter dispatches him with some swift thinking.
The art is an interesting blend of grit, to show that the Old West is truly a tough frontier to live in, and the stylized look of a super hero themed comic. The facial expressions make each and every scene, portraying the emotion of each unspoken action. On page three, however, the barmaid’s facial expression is clearly shock from being held at gunpoint, but it is somewhere between this and laughter, and doesn’t completely mesh with the scene. This is the only graphical hiccup, as her expression has changed to a more panicked state at the bottom of page four.
As short as this book is, its definitely a fun read from cover to cover. With a rediscovery of the Western Wild Frontier, a new story in the works, and the possibility of a name change to set it apart from the Image Comics future release, Drifter breathes life into a now-classic genre.