REVIEW: Drones #1

Story: Chris Lewis
Art: Bruno Oliveira
Letters: E.T. Dollman
Colors: Anderson Cabral
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 22, 2015

It’s been more than a decade since the “War on Terror” began and it’s now clear that former president Bush’s declaration of mission accomplished in 2003 was probably a little premature. Unless of course there was another mission, one that had little to do with ending terrorism and everything to do with involving America in an endless war in the name of profiteering…nah.

As crazy as that assertion may sound, Chris Lewis’ new book “Drones” hopes to further blur the lines between fiction and the brutal reality of war. The first issue of the series is confusing for both reader and characters as the idea of war-as-entertainment is explored via a team of drone pilots that destroy suspected terrorists thousands of miles from the battlefield in an air-conditioned RV.

While the premise of the book is interesting and perhaps addresses a necessary disconnect between civilian society and warfighter culture, I’m not sure about the implementation. I get that we’re supposed to be voyeurs, peeking into an absurd reality, but the story, at least at this early point, feels very disjointed. Seems like Lewis is setting the stage for a foray into the effects of PTSD, and to some degree society-wide psychosis, but a lot of the book just feels haphazard and jumbled instead of an unsettling descent into madness.

There’s a scene early on that seems out of place; following a successful “splash” one of the drone pilots has an hallucination that doesn’t seem to make much sense for the character, even if he is going nuts. Granted this may be the result that Lewis intended, a short-lived nonsensical delirium and it just may not make sense to me, nevertheless, it feels  forced.

The rest of the book is a mix of PG-13 rated sexual innuendo and more of those same sort of non-sequiturs-that-aren’t-but-could-be-and-probably-are scenes. I never seemed to be able to get my bearings enough to care about what was or wasn’t  actually happening in this book.

I’d love to say that the artwork redeems the somewhat lackluster story, but honestly, it doesn’t. It’s serviceable and technically sound, but for a story like this to work the visuals need to be a little more captivating. I get the idea that either Oliveira is trying to fit his art to the story or Lewis is trying to fit his story to suit Oliveira’s style, but either way, neither seems to complement the other very well.

Despite all of that, I am kind of curious as to where Lewis plans on taking the story, just not enough to find out firsthand. I think I’ll let someone tell me about it, because I’m pretty sure this wasn’t written to appeal to me.

By: A.C.

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