Have you ever walked in late to an action movie at the theatre or found a film on t.v. while flicking channels that’s you’ve missed the first ten minutes of? You’ve missed a bit of set up but something has instantly drawn you in. It could be the cinematography, it could be because you recognize the main actor, but something about it compels you to keep watching. You do and your reward is a fantastic overload of confusion and excitement that gives way to a satisfying story that you’re glad you didn’t walk out on just because you didn’t know exactly what was going on at first. That exhilarating feeling is what’s it’s like to read Dead Drop #1, written by Ales Kot with art by Adam Gorham and colours by Michael Spicer.
Released through Valiant Entertainment, it’s the first issue in a 4 part miniseries that showcases 4 connected standalone stories, the first of which stars X-O Manowar. A lethal alien virus is about to be released in New York city and X-O has been sent to neutralize the threat. If this virus is not retrieved, “…we can wave goodbye to the human race.” He chases a young terrorist (or someone who his bosses have told him is a terrorist) on and over the streets of New York. The chase is fast paced, pulse pounding, and makes up the entire issue. When you reach the last page, you’ll feel like you got your cardio in for the day.
To say this book is a 22 page chase scene would be 100 percent accurate but only explains a fraction of what’s actually happening. The book is written is such a way that you’re not reading the information so much as absorbing it. The story hits the ground running as X-O literally drops in and starts his mission. The how and why of the mission is given in a quick flashback to shortly before the start of the issue, but the story doesn’t slow down to give this information. There’s no exposition. Just the chase. What’s amazing is the clarity that Kot provides in this constantly moving story. For readers like myself who might have a limited knowledge of the character of X-O (and the entire Valiant Universe for that matter), the things we need to know are illustrated through his actions and discourse with his handler. We know what type of hero he is presently and can follow him easily as our window into the events as they unfold. A reader more familiar with the character doesn’t have to wade through information that they already know and can just enjoy the story straight up. Kot does an excellent job of giving each reader what they need to enjoy the story which is extremely hard for most pull off but he makes look easy here.
The artwork by Adam Gorham is some of the best that he’s done. This is Gorham’s first forray into the world of superhero storytelling and he appears to be right at home in the genre. What’s great about this issue is that Gorham is able to take Kot’s breakneck pacing and intense action beats and give it the fluid movement it needs. The artwork aids the reader in experiencing the desperate nature of the situation without sacrificing design or detail. The story has a few moments of confrontation (X-O with the young terrorist / X-O with the cops) but for the most part, we’re watching a man in armour chase somebody through the streets….and we feel that chase. It’s exhausting, in a good way. Michael Spicer’s colours mix well with Gorham’s layouts to give it a gritty and raw flavour, choosing to go with a desautrated palette. There are four different covers available for this first issue, including one by Gorham that displays a sampling of what to expect from the interiors. The main cover for the issue by Raul Allen is also great, with a minimalist style and bright colours that pop off the page.
I joked earlier this week in our New Comics blog that the book is supposed to be the equivalent of a “Summer Blockbuster Thrill Ride” and after reading the first issue, I would have to say that that statement holds true. Whether you’re a long time Valiant reader or a first timer like myself, you’ll be well entertained by the smart action story presented here. This is not Kot and Gorham’s first team up as the pair collaborated previously on issue #12 of Kot’s created owned series Zero at Image. On that book, they delivered quite the creepy tale. Here they bring you a story with a totally diferent kind of feel and they don’t skip a beat. Fantastic creators doing fantastic work together….something I wish we saw more of in comics today.
Dead Drop #1 was released yesterday and is available at a comic shop near you. Go out and buy a copy today. And be sure to catch our interview with Adam Gorham this Friday at 7pm Eastern on www.realityradio101.com.
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!