Review - Native Drums #1

"Just blame my genetics Controller."

There's always a way to make a buck, especially if you're very talented with weapons and in high demand in a world that relies on mercenaries for hire. A scenario where corporations run the show would be great for profits, yet leaves something to be desired on the human interest side of things. Luckily, in the world of Native Drums #1 from 17machine Studios, there are characters who care. The first issue is written by Chuck Paschall and illustrated by Vince Riley.

Imagine a world where governments have fallen and corporations are in control. Complete control. Disparate and desolate wastelands might be an apt way to picture the world and traveling through them is a woman named Agent. She's on a mission in the middle of the desert, fighting through a sandstorm while on foot. She's got direct orders to reach an objective, yet something sidetracks her: a young girl in need of assistance. Agent breaks protocol to save her, which of course throws her right in the crosshairs of the local factions.

A world run by money is a truly terrifying one indeed and Paschall captures the mayhem very well. He doesn't so much focus on the economics and politics of the; rather, he spends time with a woman who's trying to do right in the new world she's a part of. Agent is a brash professional proficient with firearms, but she's not above deviating from the mission if she feels it's for a worthy cause. The bulk of the issue is focused on her conversation with who is presumably her handler and the dialogue between the two speaks volumes about who she is and what motivates her.

While the story is very powerful, Riley's art is equally as impressive. He does a marvelous job showing off the ferocity of the sandstorm, shrouding the landscape and making her mission immeasurably more difficult. Agent herself is illustrated with a great intensity that's effective at convincing the reader she's more than capable of handling the mission at hand. Riley also relies on non-traditional layouts towards the end, spreading full-page illustrations across multiple panels. The panels piece together much like a puzzle and are refreshing. The action pages are rife with kinetic energy as well, fully conveying to the reader the intense situations that Agent often finds herself in.

Native Drums #1 is a really great combination of story and art, telling a story about that's slightly different than the norm. It's relatively light on pure story, yet it still manages to speak through the action as well as the dialogue. Paschall is starting a rather interesting tale that will put Agent in what's likely an even tougher situation in the coming issues. Riley's art is very raw and the coarseness of it fits the story, showing a muddy and painted landscape. Readers looking for a new tale should definitely pick up Native Drums #1.

Native Drums #1 is available via Comixology now.