REVIEW: Drive #1

(W) Michael Benedetto (A/CA) Antonio Fuso

“Getting harder and harder all the time to step around the amateurs, know what I am saying?”

Its an interesting quote from the first issue of this comic, based on the book that has also spawned a hit movie starring Ryan Gosling, that totally encapsulates how I feel about this book.

For those not in the know, Drive features a stunt driver, who takes on getaway jobs on the side.  His existence is a lonely one, moving apartments every few months and practically shunning most human contact.  That is until a certain job goes wrong or it could’ve been when Irina moves into 2-G.  Fans of the either the book or the film will know what happens next so no spoilers here.

The book is written by  Michael Benedetto, an IDW assistant editor who captures the feel and the mood of proceedings.  The pace is great, as we feel out a life of exact measures.  The script sparkles with dialogue, working well with verbose passages to equally emotive sparse elements.  Benedetto is joined by his own wheelman with former GI Joe: Cobra files artist Antonio Fuso whose style compliments the writing brilliantly. If anything the art is even better than the writing, although it does remind me of Francesco Francavilla’s work on Detective Comics.  Along for the ride is inker Emilio Lecce and colorist Jason Lewis, both adding their own varnish to the texture of the book.  The book reads and looks great.  Although this leads to my problem with the comic.

I am not disputing the quality of this book, I am questioning the point of it.  The book is a classic as is the film, spawning its own set of hard-core fans.  With such a strong base to work from, both textually from the book and visually from the film, it could be hard to decide whether the comic is as good because of the creators involved or the actual source material.  Crime noir books are popular at the moment, which leads me back to the quote at the top of the page.

Paraphrasing, “Its hard to see the original stuff, with all the rehashed stuff around, know what I am saying?”

As said, the quality of the book isn’t in doubt, at its worst it’s a cash in on a cult book and movie; at its best it may entice crime noir fans to try other publishers more original works. Either way, its certainly going to be an interesting ride.

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