I say “dreamer,” because for much of this first issue, neither Denis nor the reader knows exactly where Denis has woken up and if it’s real or a drug-induced hallucination. We get the lowdown that he wakes up in some pretty nefarious places after some pretty heavy benders. So, he starts walking, in the middle of nowhere, until he comes across denizens of this formidable trip which he decides to “lean into.” The ins and outs I really don’t want to get into it, because it’s pretty enjoyable, and I had no idea really what to expect - just that Tyler Jenkins and Hilary Jenkins were the artistic team.
They are a pairing I have grown to love, and thanks to their work here, the reader is doused with the surreal vibe of Denis’ situation right away. That sort of waking dream or groggy headedness you experience when you wake up after a hard nap; their loose paneling, dutch-angled landscape, and use of one image being the background for another give the full effect. The most fun they seem to have is when Denis arrives in a seedy, roadside bar full of some enjoyable characters. Hilary’s colors are fluid and draw each image together, one to the next, as if the colors were spilled across the page and made sense of afterwards. The road becomes the sky, the exterior is used as the interior background, and the top view becomes the front view; the images dance with each other.
We get a lot out of this first issue. The storytelling skills of W. Maxwell Prince are on full display. He drops us right down into a situation with Denis, where he and the reader are in the same boat of having no idea where, when, how, or why, but we immediately know who. Denis’ internal monologue, as he tries to temper his situation, gives us all the details of who he has been up to this point. Any of this could feel on the nose, but even in the expository drifting through Denis’ thoughts, Prince finds a way to show us rather than just tell. Prince is so good that you get a handle on who characters are with their first bit of dialogue.
A less-studied eye would see this series and think, “It’s nonsense for nonsense’s sake,” but that’s hardly the case. The skill - and why #StoriesMatter - is that they have taken what could have very well been nonsense and crafted it, molded it, and shaped it into something with some real artistic “oomph.” My inner love of surrealism was giddily running around the entire time.
Creative Team: W. Maxwell Prince (writer), Tyler Jenkins (Illustrated by), Hilary Jenkins (colored by), Andworld Design (lettered by), Scott Newman, Michelle Ankley (designed by), Eric Harburn (edited by), Amanda LaFranco (associate editor), Ramiro Portnoy (assistant editor)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.