Review by “Lyzard”
At least this comic came with a “mature reader” warning. Though some of you may view this as a form of censorship, I gladly welcome these parental advisories that Marvel and Radical comics include. It prevents me from upchucking my lunch. RYDER ON THE STORM most definitely is for mature readers. Not for sex, but for bloody violence. I’ve noticed that comics don’t take sex as far as they do violence, which seems to be a realm saved for film and HBO. But though the comic made me squeamish and squirm, I still found it fascinating. It’s a rubbernecking comic. One in which despite the horror, you can’t look away.
RYDER ON THE STORM #1 tells the story of Private Investigator Ryder. He is hired by Katrina Petruska, a nightclub singer, whose rich hookup has just killed himself… by power drilling eleven holes into his head. But this is no ordinary case. As Ryder investigates, he finds out that the city’s founding family, the Dantons, may be involved and that they are much more than meets the eye.
That being said, I still enjoyed the comic. Setting it up in the near future, instead of the present, was a nice touch due to the ancient matters that come into play later on in the story. This intersection of the past and future made it a blend of the neo-noir of MINORITY REPORT and the classic noir of DOUBLE INDEMNITY. It has the archetypal characters, such as your PI, femme fatale, annoyed detective, and shadowy antagonist. It also is full of grays. I don’t mean in the color, but in the character’s morals.
But that’s okay, what kept me coming back was the art. It was the choice of the artist in when and what not to show that really took me aback. The reveals were intensified by the suspense built through the drawings and even the lettering. The constant RRRRR sound in the apartment, at first seems like it could be the phone, but later we find out it’s actually the drill. I felt this comic was very alive; I could hear the sound of the drill, the whack of fists, the screams of agony even when they weren’t spelled out for me. Again, what to show and not to show. The colorization made the reds (not always just blood) and greens stand out. Everything else was muted. My very problem with neo-noir films is the use of color. I enjoy CHINATOWN because its muteness is the closest you can get to the black and white feel of the traditional noir stories, without going b&w themselves. This comic deals with color in a similar way, but not to the extent of SIN CITY, where, when important, a color is highlighted and heightened.
I know I’m referencing a lot of films, but the layout of the comic was very cinematic. Again, this goes back to the reveals, but there was also parallel editing, where in you have two panels with a similar image, but it’s the differences that matter. This may be blasphemy to comic purists, but the book came off very much like storyboards in their varying angles and focus.
Ryder is a powerful comic. Though I knew where it was going in nearly every page, it was the experience that I enjoyed. Feeling the pain, hearing the screams, it’s a sensory book that makes one more in tune with ones senses than even some films. If this is your genre, then I highly recommend it, not for its story, but for its imagery.
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