By Dustin Cabeal
I knew what type of story I was getting right away with Freight which is a good thing. It slaps the premise on the inside cover with the credits instead of making you read a blank page. It’s not 100% necessary that you read that page to get the story and so I will first point out that I was grateful for the way the creators presented it. Take note comic creators, don’t give the reader a wall of text to read when starting your comic.
As for the story, it’s the classic storyline of “I heard something I shouldn’t have, will you help me.” In this case, our main character is a space truck driver that has sought solitude since his wife’s death and of course that comes shattering down when a young girl stows away on his truck. This is how the story beings, but it flashes back to some of the how’s and why’s of how the girl got on the truck. In this future, there are eight earths, and they all suck. They’re also filled with poor working class people just trying to get by in life. The young girl, Charlie, is tired of her planet and so she sneaks into a piece of freight, hence the title. The Dues-ex being that she hears some shady shit going down which is exactly what the truck driver wants to avoid. Even worse, Charlie’s wannabe boyfriend shows up to rescue her which sends off more red flags for the trucker.
What saves the story from being dull is the fact that the characters are well developed and the premise of the world. The trucker, Owen, is a bit too much like every retired dude not wanting to get back in the life. He’s Murtaugh, just reminding us that he doesn’t want trouble, doesn’t want to deal with shit and just wants to be left alone. It’s fine for the first issue, but it does wear on you while reading. Charlie is day and night compared to Owen which is why it works. They don’t particularly bond, but their conversations flow naturally and develop both characters. Her motivation is still unclear as to what drove her to get into the box of freight that starts the story, but perhaps it’ll be revealed later. My bet is daddy issues, but we’ll see.
The cover art doesn’t do the interior justice. The cover is rough to look at, but it is the same artist inside. It’s just the interior is colored in a way that fits the style a lot better. Owen could use more defining details. He’s a bit ordinary considering he’s the main character. Charlie, on the other hand, has been given ample love with a great design and plenty of details. In particular, her rosy cheeks are a nice touch. There’s only one bit of what you could call action, but it’s more of a sequence of quick movement that looks stiff. Otherwise, the art works for the story because it’s mostly talking. The space scenes are illustrated quite well, which can be a deal breaker on this type of sci-fi story.
I’m curious to read more of Freight and see if it can blaze its own path on this very familiar storyline. While the characters are developed, they’re a far cry from being finished, but that is one of the reasons I’m curious to read more. The art is consistent, but definitely, relies on simple panel layouts and poses to get through the issue. It works for now, but we’ll see. If you enjoy the sci-fi genre mixed with mystery, then give Freight a shot.
Story & Letters: Justin Michael Green
Pencils, Inks, Colors: Katherine Bartlett
Inks & Colors: Elodie Chen
Publisher: Stowaway Comics