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‘The Dredger #1:’ Comic Book Review

Journalist Ben Strong is stuck. He isn’t caught in the middle of truth versus lie to sell a story, because he’s willing to go to any lengths to avoid being fired. Actually, after a near miss of killing someone with his car, he soon finds himself, and everyone else in Los Angeles, quarantined. Ben spews vulgarity at anyone to get his point across, and this introduction doesn’t seem to improve when he nearly kills a mother and baby. Granted, he did have the right away, but playing on your phone while driving is extremely hazardous – our main character is relieved, “Just a little blood. No big deal.”

The mother, who was already bleeding prior to her contact with Ben’s car, is so preoccupied with getting to a bus across the street that she doesn’t even realize her baby is lying on the ground. Now, we have a moment worthy of a decent person when our hero picks up and comforts the baby, giving us a reason to continue along and wonder, “What just happened?” In fact, it’s exactly what’s on Ben’s mind when a vast military brigade approaches, establishing military law as they announce to those stuck in their cars and walking the streets, “Los Angeles is now under quarantine!”

Writer and letterer Jeremy Wilfinger produces a surreal glimpse into the frantic state that a quarantine can leave on those living in a big city. Instantly, there is confusion and fighting, and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time - when in fact you’re trying to help - can get you in a lot of trouble. Wilfinger sets up his protagonist as a dirtball, and before you can wonder when he'll stick his other foot in his mouth, he does something simple, kind, and the right thing to do by picking up this helpless baby.

Artist Crizam Zamora creates the sense of crowdedness one might feel, as if being trapped inside the quarantine with the characters. There are many panels, with varying sizes and many overlapping onto others. This technique seems to accentuate the chaos felt by those living out the storyline. Colorist Natalia Marques uses soft hues throughout, presenting L.A. as serene during the first couple of pages, despite the blatant honks of impatient drivers, and then transforming the city under the cover of darkness and low lighting while under military guard. Along the way during this initial Kickstarter project, this comic book presents a story that makes the reader ask questions and want to follow further issues in the future in the hopes of finding answers. Although this campaign has currently stopped, they will attempt another one to “bring The Dredger #1 to print.”

The Dredger #1 is currently available in digital format on Amazon.

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