As stories go, the bullied kid looking for a way out isn’t the most original or unusual. Even when you throw in supernatural elements, there is normally a certain ebb and flow to these things. Brik #1 from Oni Press sets it stall out quite quickly, but are you buying their wares?
Drew lives in the reality of Yonkers, miles away from the dreams of the new life promised to his family. Where he looks, Drew is faced with bullies, whether that be his own or those that are looking to force his family out of his neighbourhood. Still, despite all the dangers in his life, there is hope in the form of an old tale of a different type of bully and their fall at the muddy hands of a Golem. Could there be some truth in the old story and if so, how can that help Drew?
Writers Adam Glass and Mike Benson collaborate on a story that is as old as time, served with a heavy dose of dirt and grit that gives enough of a hint of originality to entice the reader. The pair spend time introducing the good, the bad and the ugly of Drew’s ongoing struggle in a well paced manner. True, the old man with the story of the past is a well used trope, but by the time we get to it we start to care about Drew and want to see what is next for him. The dialogue works well throughout, adding to the grimy feel of Drew’s world.
The art by newcomer Harbinger Singh is an eclectic mix of Frank Miller and Steve Ditko which is the strongest part of the book. Singh’s work also shows a lot of detail, which in turn, gives the book a heavy dose of realism. Singh’s framework of figures is all angles, exaggerated elbows and knees; facially Singh uses a less is more approach for the most part which demonstrates the Miller influences. Singh is helped massively by colorist Gonzalo Duarte who give the book a painted feel, which again helps with the gritty nature of Yonkers.
The problem with this book is the familiarity of the story, which could have been influenced by a number of sources across comic books and movies. Harbinger Singh is a quiet revelation, whose work could quite easily find a home at any number of indie publishers such as Dark Horse. Still, this is the first issue and there is still time for the writers involved to surprise me.
Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars