Drumhellar #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Drum Hellar, a paranormal detective, stands with his golf club held upwards in a lightning storm, flames licking the tips of his tattered purple bathrobe after being struck. The electric charge brings about a psychedelic trance that involves a majestic peacock, a golden egg bursting with energy and a trip through a swirling portal that reaches down into a parallel world of lush prairie land and marsh. Searching for his drugs and tripping through past lives with his “post-corporeal” companion, Herald, a ghost cat, Drum bumbles along, ever the laid back paleobotanist whose adventures range through rural realms as well as dimensions of fantasy and cognitive expansion.
From the creative team that produced Image Shadowline’s Rebel Blood, a four issue, brutal apocalypse tale of the undead and insane, comes a new journey into a demented mind, furnished with monsters and residue from experimental substances. Drumhellar, the new series from Riley Rossmo and Alex Link, is an immensely enjoyable and imaginative trek alongside a loveable dope as he searches for bog-men and new plants to ingest. One of the most unique series I have read to date, Drumhellar is entirely unlike any other series on the shelves today and features a fantastically compelling and immediately charming lead character with Drum, the psychotropic enthusiast whose past relationships feature a bi-sexual werewolf who steals his stash and a naturopath who resents his very existence but still acts as a gardener for his hallucinogenic leanings. The first chapter in this new series offers up a healthy dose of medicinal imagination and exploration that is a perfect vehicle for Rossmo’s twisted ingenuity and Link’s creative voice.
The artwork inside Drumhellar is some of Riley Rossmo’s best to date. Starting off in the pages of Image comic’s Proof we got to see his ability fleshed out in the form of cryptids and other exotic creatures. With Debris his eclectic style expanded into epic, steampunk fantasy territory. In Green Wake, a land of the dead resided in swamps of murky liquid and noir mystery. With Drumhellar his linework excels and his colour work is inventive with a rainbow palette and flourishing brightness. It’s really some of the best colour compliments Rossmo has played with to fit his wild pencils. Some of my favorite Rossmo pages have come out of this first issue with one showing a spirit form Drum wailing about a wild west town, another showing his bright blue spectral self disintegrate into tiny raindrops, and another which has a dark purple hue of the night while Drum searches a lake with Herald lighting the way. Artistically, Drumhellar is a stellar new chapter in the career of one of the best talents in indie comics.
Alex Link’s script work alongside Rossmo is an excellent collaborative effort and continues to shine beyond Rebel Blood and their short story together, Dead but Dreaming, featured in the first Dia De Los Muertos issue. Drumhellar has a great cast of characters and a brisk tone that is confidently established early on, hooking you from page one with funny banter and a narrative that glides along organically from beginning to end.
Drumhellar from Shadowline Image Comics teams up a perfect duo in Riley Rossmo and Alex Link to deliver a truly different, fresh and fun adventure in comics.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com