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‘Drifters #4:’ Comic Book Review

“About half of the waters in our world are poisoned by Dark Aether.  Those are the Dark Seas. It takes specially trained warriors to navigate those waters safely.  Those Warriors are us, Drifters.”
“Woah, you guys are kind of a big deal, huh?”
“But it’s part of the reason people don’t like us.  Because we only have to roam the seas once in a while, people assume we just laze around earning wages.  And Drifters in the past have been notoriously arrogant.  The sins of the past was always hard to overcome.”

The story so far:  Teenager Theo Adams has fought against all that life can throw at him.  Fighting two chronic diseases, his parents deceased and unknown, his mysterious Uncle Victor overseeing his care, and one super-genius friend, his life has been anything but ordinary.

However, in his search for the truth behind the loss of his parents and the nature of his uncle’s mysterious research, Theo finds himself transported to another realm with a mysterious new tattoo on his arm and under attack from a pack of demon wolves.  After a quick rescue from his uncle (who knows much more than he’s sharing), Theo and Victor find themselves captured by a tribe of warriors who reveal little about Theo’s mark, but agree to train him, assigning an elite warrior, a Drifter nicknamed Dreads, to watch over him.

In issue #4, traveling with Dreads to meet his family, Theo learns about the Drifters – members of the Emperor’s Royal Army – tasked with protecting the populace, keeping the peace, and administering international responses.  But they seem powerless to prevent the rash of kidnappings plaguing the realm recently, led by the Kawatala, a rebel group of bandits turned kidnappers.  

But trouble looms large when the Kawatala make their presence known in ways Dreads never expected.  And may never recover from.

Based out of Texas and Nigeria, publisher New Dawn has the unique ability to straddle two unique artistic worlds.  Creator Joshua Kasali shows his Baylor education, his love of anime, and his Nigerian homelife in this deeply involved story.  Toss in some manga-style action and artwork, and you have the potential for a body of work more original than a lot of creator-owned titles out today.

The artwork, while shaky in the early issues, has matured nicely and conveys a smooth sense of a world not that different from our own at first glance.

The storytelling bursts with a giddy, youthful enthusiasm, an eagerness to get out as much information as the creators can, possibly in order to set up more of this potentially long-spanning story.  In an age where Black Panther has opened the door for diverse heroes and stories, Kasali and company are taking that ball and running hard with it.  While at first glance a sci-fi alternate world story, Kasali casually addresses classicism, long-standing colonialism, and ethnic heritage, all the while couching it in the garb of family and duty.  This team has set up an obviously ambitious goal with these early issues, and it will be interesting to see what it grows into.

“So that’s what’s been under the mysterious mask this whole time?  I’m a little disappointed.  Was hoping for a crazy scar or birthmark.”
“… I might have to kill you now.”

VERDICT:    FOUR Mysterious Power Tattoos out of FIVE

Creative Team: Joshua Kasali (Story), Sunkami Akinboye (Pencil Art), Michael Oshamika (Inks), Samuel Gbadebo (Coloring)
Publisher:    New Dawn Creatives
Click here to purchase.

Tony Caballero, Fanbase Press Contributor



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