Oh yeah, this comic. Drumhellar. The one I called the third worst comic I read from 2013. The first arc is coming to a close and well, I saw this arc start and I’ll see it out. Will it all come together in the end and truly impress or will it just fall flat and leave us shaking our heads with disappointment? Is it good?
Drumhellar #5 (Image Comics)
And so, things happen this issue. Drum becomes a werewolf… and nothing comes of it. Drum has a conversation with a velociraptor cowboy and… something happens. The bad girl with unknown motivations asks Drum what he gets out doing all of this… he has no response. The werewolf ex-girlfriend shows up… because. Then the problem is solved and the characters just spout a bunch of “deep” discussion about life and living… to no effect other than padding the book out.
Ever get the feeling that you have no idea what’s going on?
The first arc of Drumhellar ends with no bang; it just kind of fizzles out with a whimper. In preparation for this issue, I decided to reread the rest of the run up to now so I had an understanding of what is going on with everything fresh in my mind. Having done so, I noticed that this book still hasn’t really gotten off the ground. There’s still very little in the way of excitement, intensity, or moments that thrill. It just remained weird for the sake of weirdness, meandered around/through concepts and ideas with little regard to storytelling or the audience, and plotlines ended up just going nowhere with little advancement to the story.
This whole DJ baby and prison time? Nothing really comes of it outside of adding some new characters that don’t advance the arc. In fact, with a bit of rewriting, both the story of this arc (with ghost dinosaurs) and that storyline could be their own separate arcs. It would certainly make for a better flowing and easier to read experience in comparison to the one that felt like it couldn’t decide what to focus on. I will admit the story makes a bit more sense than what the book started with, but the writing in other areas have not improved.
But besides the poor story structure and writing that cumulated in this anti-climax, the comic still remains problematic in different areas. The dialogue is still pretty bad: characters just toss out ideas with no explanation and try to sound deep when they really aren’t; there are lines that come out of nowhere and are stilted or unnatural sounding; and there are attempts at humor that just miss completely (as in, was that actually supposed to be funny?). The characters are just not interesting and flat, with little to no motivation for what they are doing. One could say that Drum has no motivation and is just doing what he is doing for the sake of the comic coming across as interesting and different, but the overall effect just feels rather weak and makes Drum’s character uninteresting (on top of the fact that he is a bit unlikable since he does not seem to care much about people outside of his circle). The villain also comes across as weak, similarly lacking motivation or reasons given for why she is doing what she is doing. Drumhellar also still has the problem of poor transitions, with scenes just abruptly cutting sometimes when there still feels like there should be a bit more exposition. It’s just not that interesting or engaging overall.
Ah… how does salvia do that?
The artwork, if you remember some of my previous reviews, is really not my cup of tea. Sure, it has some vivid colors and very trippy dream scenes, but the rest doesn’t work for me at all. I find the characters, the scenery, the creatures, and supernatural aspects to be rather ugly and unappealing. Plus, there’s always the scenes that poorly transition or the times the comic cuts for a quick panel to something that has nothing to do with what is happening (why was Fred and Wilma in the diner and why was it important?) Of course, opinions are certainly different and from my understanding, tons of people do in fact enjoy the artwork or find it the best part of the comic itself. For those people, you’ll be pleased to know the quality from the first issue to now has not changed at all and while it may not appeal to me, you will certainly find it appealing.
Is It Good?
Drumhellar #5 just doesn’t do it for me, especially with the rather flat ending for its first arc. The writing is subpar and overly complicated, the dialogue is bad, the characters are just not compelling, and it was poorly structured and put together. The artwork is divisive and while you may like that part of the book, it’s not enough to save this.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!