by Chris Lewis, Bruno Oliveira, and Anderson Cabral
The opening sequence of Drones #1 is a well-crafted series of events that uses the space well to create tension and suspense before introducing readers to the world that is being created. Lewis writes an interesting tactical mission that certainly sets a tone from the very start. With some very unexpected art by Bruno Oliveira and Anderson Cabral, the story does not look like one might expect a military strike book to look. That fusion of styles is certainly curious, but seems to be the angle the creators are attempting as this series looks to make some interesting statements about the world that exists today. Drones #1 is a strange first issue that looks to tackle something unexpected and bold. After one issue, it is hard to tell if the creators have a handle on it, but it is definitely something entirely its own.
Maybe the first indication that Drones is not the book most readers might expect it to be is its cover. The fusion of war and sexuality is certainly not something readers would stick together. But that is the angle that Chris Lewis is taking on his brand new series from IDW. In the back of the issue, the writer and creator of the series discusses the world today, the state of relationships between countries and all that has occurred since that fateful day in September over a decade ago. So much as changed since then and the fantasy element that Lewis talks about is likened to a car crash that a person just cannot seem to turn away from. Lewis offers his commentary on the civilian addiction to the new cycle and war. Pairing such images with a sexual fantasy is certainly an unlikely pairing, but the writer hopes to tackle this dark fantasy in this new series. As the book transitions out of its opening sequence, readers are introduced to the voices that banter back and forth over the opening pages. Stinger and Lani are two drone pilots who operate and influence events in the world from miles away. Using satellite camera technology, the two are able to infiltrate and attack from the safety of a trailer on the other side of the world. In such an era of surveillance and technology, the landscape of humanity is changing.
As the story progressed, readers are treated to some very strange sequences. Talk of being watched and odd flashes of images that do not quite make sense appear in moments throughout the book and create a disorienting sensation for the reader. In a moment when a man is irate about the events that have transpired with Huqtar, the blurring of the tension of war with an element of playfulness between the man and the nurse lends to further this very odd tone that has been set in the series. In the final act of the book, readers will find themselves trying to parse out just exactly what is going on. The book’s lead, Stringer, is similarly confused and it remains to be seen just how clued in the creative team will make the readers. As of now, it is not easy to see what the direction of story intends to be. Artists Bruno Oliveira and Anderson Cabral have infused the story with a very surreal visual element. Lewis talks of this aspect of their talents as the intended direction of the book, set on creating an odd and fantasy-like tone underneath the plot.
With very little to go on after just an issue, it remains to be seen if the creative team are able to pull this all together. At the very least, Lewis is to be commended for such a unique vision in pairing these elements together. In choosing such a distinct style of commentary on this world that exists today, there is a high bar set for Lewis, Oliveira and Cabral. Readers may just have to be a little patient to let these elements come together. For now, Drones #1 has not quite hit that mark.