[Comic Review] The Short End — Drifter #3

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Now that’s he’s stuck in Ghost Town, there’s only one thing left for Abram Pollux to do — get a job.

After an electrifying turn of events last issue, Drifter #3 settles into a mundane world much different than ours, but not without its own set of trials and tribulations. For Pollux, the conflict is securing enough credits to afford a new sidearm. He takes a job in the mines, a place where humans are at the bottom of the rung, scooping up giant worm poop that’s used to fuel everything topside. Avoiding giant worms bursting through rock walls is one thing, the wheelers — another humanoid species with the strength of five men and a pheromone that induces fear — are another. The wheelers don’t take kindly to being interrupted as they carry whatever the humans dig up to the surface.

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And so goes Pollux’s first day in the mines — a hazardous day’s work that ends with a casualty when a coworker pushes Abram out of a wheeler’s way. For his good dead, the coworker loses his hands, and Pollux is left with the guilt, the weight of the consequences of his inaction.

Ivan Brandon’s scripting is much more fluid this time around, and throughout the course of Pollux’s story, the main plot continues to develop as Abram learns the name of the assassin, Bell Emmerich, who left him for dead and helped him against the lightning. Brandon also continues working on the theme — one that examines what it means to be human.

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In the first issue, we met Pollux during a crashlanding that he barely survived. After shooting a creature out of fear, Pollux is shot from behind by a mysterious figure — a death he admittedly deserved for previous transgressions.In this third issue, Pollux’s inability to control himself by moving out of the wheeler’s way highlights one of the conflicts we all as humans struggle with — our inability to maintain control over situations, people, and the universe. Abram is our patron saint of lost causes — he just can’t seem to escape the road of ruin he’s on. While his spirit is willing, it’s his spirit that’s so very weak.

The plot point about the chemicals exerted by the wheelers that creates fear reinforces the thematic elements in Drifter — that science explains certain behaviors, and we are limited by our own physiological functions. Think of the myriad of mental illnesses. OCD, for example, is believed to be caused by abnormalities in the brain that ramp up the fight or flight instinct. Sufferers are left helpless as the mind begins to obsess over irrational fears with a demand for satisfaction through compulsive behaviors.

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The war between nature and nurture is very present here in Drifter, especially in Father Arkady’s story as he’s pursued outside Ghost Town by a man looking for revenge. It appears that one of Arkady’s followers killed herself, and her widower is on the warpath. Knowing how multi-dimensional each of the main characters have come across, it’s likely there’s much more to this story than what’s told, and the outcome will likely have its own set of consequences.

On artwork, I’m astounded that Drifter hasn’t been delayed. Nic Klein’s artwork in this title is in a whole galaxy of its own, and beyond what I’ve seen him do in his other books. Whether it’s just a matter of time or being able to work on both lines and color — whatever it is, Drifter looks incredible with panels that are filled with suspense or action, depending on what the story calls for.

Drifter #3 is another chapter in a brilliant set of issues that’s pacing itself quite nicely, and it seems like Brandon and Klein have really planned this one out. The mystery is alive, and there’s plenty of gravity here to pull you in with a world that’s revealing more of itself each page. I’ll say it again, Drifter is one inspired piece of work, and I hope that it continues telling a strong story with beautiful artwork month after month because a letdown from such heights would be too much to bear.


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Drifter #3 (2014)
[usr 4]
Image
Words: Ivan Brandon
Art: Nic Klein
Letters: Clem Robins

Previous Issue: Drifter #2 Review

Buy Drifter #3 from Things From Another World!

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