Dean Koontz’s: Nevermore #1
Writer: Keith Champagne
Artist/Cover artist: Andy Smith
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Editor: Derek Ruiz
Publisher: Dabel Bros. Publishing
Price: $3.99 US
All I really know of the Dabel Brothers is that they have something of a spotty business reputation in the industry. Of course, that shouldn’t have a bearing on the quality of the work they publish, so I approached this latest endeavor with some curiosity. Dabel Bros. Publishing has hired a couple of mainstays of mainstream super-hero comics — not industry stars, but reliable talents — to bring this Dean Koontz property to life. Overall, it’s fair typical science-fiction fare, but it’s executed well. While there’s really not a lot of suspense at play given the familiar nature of the premise, the capable pacing and action draw the reader into the story. Similarly, while the art and designs won’t set the comic world on fire, they’re handled adeptly, telling the story clearly.
Bobby Godric has had everything a man could want: professional success, money, fame. But most importantly, he found the love of his life in his youth, allowing him to temper the more fantastic and extraordinary aspects of his life with happiness. Now, he’s on a quest to recapture that happiness, and it involves a new, seemingly miraculous invention as well as the resourcefulness of some close friends and colleagues. Godric uses his Nevermore machine to travel to another world, one much like yet quite unlike our own. Godric has achieved the impossible, piercing the barrier between parallel dimensions, but whether that success will lead to the happy ending he desires or potential tragedy remains to be seen.
The style that Andy Smith adopts for this comic book is a fairly standard one, the kind of thing one could expect to find in a run of the mill super-hero title. His work here reminded me at times of the art of Dan (Booster Gold) Jurgens and Ivan (Green Lantern) Reis; both are fairly popular at present, so fans of their work will likely appreciate what they’d find in these pages. The computer coloring techniques reinforce the sci-fi tech effects nicely. Perhaps the most important visual element to the success of this first issue is Smith’s decision to keep the advanced technology of the parallel world from looking too advanced. The alien creatures that turn up in the latter part of the book boast a disappointing design, though. Smith borrows heavily from H.R. Giger’s playbook, so much so that’s a little jarring.
Champagne balances the science-fiction and the action in the main part of the plot with the love story that unfolds in the flashbacks. It brings the main character down to earth, and it gives me a grounded, relatable motivation to embark upon the reckless and impossible course of action driving the story forward. He also tempers Godric’s sci-fi genius and visionary nature by rooting it in youthful rebellion and imagination.
While the plot in general is fairly predictable and the notion of a brilliant scientist undertaking an ill-advised experiment in the name of love is familiar, that typical sci-fi scenario usually ends up casting the scientist in the role of desperate villain. Here, we have a hero who made a bad but completely understandable mistake. No doubt the plot will no be about his effort to redeem himself and that mistake by rectifying it. Of course, that’s not exactly uncharted territory either, but the creators here work well together to make what could have otherwise been a humdrum, derivative experience into a capable, diverting bit of storytelling. 6/10