by Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon
Ryan Ferrier has been lettering a few Monkeybrain titles as of recent, but this new series finds him taking on the story as well. Entitled D4VE, the first issue finds the titular character slogging along at his desk job in a massive corporation. Readers are given an explanation as to why the book is filled with robots instead of people among other world building bits. It has a lot of strong moments in both the writing and art though the compilation of those falls a bit short.
D4VE #1 tells of a character that used to have a life filled with adventure and action. Now that the dust has settled and the fighting has ended, he must find a new purpose. Ferrier touches on some interesting subject matter here. Though the lead character is a robot and much of his functionality is quite literally programmed, it plays a good mirror to adults around the middle of their lives. D4VE, like many people today, finds himself longing for the excitement of his earlier years. Ferrier does a very good job writing this character and many readers, even those who don’t fully identify with D4VE, will find themselves engaged by his voice.
A few moments in the book, Ferrier’s writing hits a real note just as the art also really makes the reader take notice and it is for these pages that D4VE shows promise as a series. Several times, Valentin Ramon details a full-panel page and it is gorgeous in both imagery and coloring. There are some fun nods to alterations of things of today throughout the panels and they make the experience of following along with this new world all the more enjoyable. There are a lot of points where the book delivers on its story. However, there are some other things that might create reservation amongst the audience.
While D4VE is a good allegory for the middle-aged desk-worker, the story feels a bit thin. The tale of a face-in-the-crowd at a large company who is struggling with the doldrums of his occupation is not terribly original. D4VE has a voice that makes much of reading him fun, but otherwise his character and those around him are very one-dimensional. Additionally, far too often is the implanting of robot-related or computer-related language a distraction rather than a clever inclusion.
Ramon, also, has a lot of inconsistencies in his art. D4VE and some other characters look well thought out. Other one-panel characters come off as rushed and quite often the backgrounds of panels drop out entirely. For the many great moments that show promise, D4VE #1 has almost as many that don’t quite work. Ferrier has a good sense of writing the character’s voice and Ramon show a lot of potential. If the two creators can even the book out a bit more, D4VE is likely to be a really strong series.