By Dustin Cabeal
The “outbreak” genre is a bit overdone in my opinion. There’s even a zombie subgenre, but I suppose if people have a story to tell, they’ll tell it. The Dredger is a strange first issue because there’s a lot of elements that are quite good and then others that are very, very bad.
The story follows a reporter that slams on his breaks to avoid a woman with a baby running from something. He gets into a situation with a cabby, a bum and then a soldier. He wakes up in a cage after receiving a lot of head trauma, and a doctor clears him to leave. He’s stuck in downtown L.A. near the Staples Center… in case you need that.
The guy’s name is Ben, and he’s probably the best element of the story. He asks all the right questions, and he’s the only one that speaks naturally with his dialogue. The rest of the dialogue is either exposition or bad attempts at capturing a dialect. I would say it’s laughably bad, but it’s borderline offensive. The cabby that Ben interacts with is clearly supposed to be foreign, and so he talks in broken English and says “Mai” instead of “My.” He also brings up a dated O.J. reference which made me question when exactly this was supposed to take place… then I remembered the Staples Center.
The story isn’t hard to figure out. Ben will eventually get sucked into a conspiracy involving the woman and child, the soldier that he made smile and the guy that he was writing about earlier in his day. I will still never understand why the guy was “expecting him” after the quarantine started, nor will I understand why they’d let people continue to live in their apartments and not actually quarantine them in one area. Not much of a quarantine if you’re just letting most of the people keep on living their lives.
The art is decent. The characters are well designed and have a variety of shape and sizes. The action lacks any flow making it look choppy instead of a sequence that your mind could paint a picture with from panel to panel. The coloring makes the artwork look great, especially people’s hair. Ben’s look disheveled and layered, but it looks realistic. Some of the backgrounds cool be filled with more detail or colored better, so it wasn’t just textured walls, but overall the art is impressive and the best part of the comic.
I’m not much for outbreak stories, and I can see inklings of where this one is going to go. While that may be fun for some people, it’s not for me. Even still, I can see that a lot of time and energy went into this issue. Unfortunately, the writing tanks the score because there are just too many problems there, but if it weren't for that, the art would have bumped the score a lot more.
The Dredger #1
Writer/Letterer: Jeremy Wilfinger
Artist: Crizam Zamora
Colorist: Natalia Marques