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Ryder #1 is “Fantastic”

Review by Dan Stein

Who doesn’t love comics? They are one of the easiest forms of entertainment you can find. They’re portable and they’re a quick read. However, comics as well deal heavily with moral and ethical issues and they do this in an extremely small space with very few words. This is no different of David Hine’s “Ryder on the Storm,” a horror-comic series dealing heavily with the moral issues of murder versus suicide as well as balancing horror elements with dramatic plot.

This is a three part series, the first two of which are available in stores now. Unfortunately, I have only been able to get my hands on the first issue, so this is a review of “Ryder on the Storm: Book One.”

The first thing you notice about this fantastic comic is the artwork. The illustrator, Wayne Nichols, has a knack for realism. Every panel in this comic makes fantastic use of chiaroscuro shading, deep color transitions, and artistically intertwining sound effects with the emotion of the action in said panel. As well, the author and artist work together flawlessly to create fluid transitions throughout the work by taking advantage of page changes as well as organization.

A perfect example of this is the first page. Without ruining too much for you, the first page opens with an anonymous woman on the phone with a P.I. named simply, Ryder. She informs him that a mutual friend told her to call him if she was ever in trouble. I don’t want to tell you what happens at the turn of the page because it would ruin it for you. But, that being said, the girl is in very big trouble.

Fair warning: the rest of this review will totally ruin the comic for you. Don’t read it if you’d rather read the comic, which you should, because it’s awesome.

As the story progresses, Ryder develops a relationship with the girl, Katrina Petruska, while trying to prove her innocence in the death of her boyfriend, Michael Hudson. While the police initially rule Hudson’s death as a suicide, they become increasingly skeptical and as well they should. After all, the way he died was a power drill through the skull. Eleven times.

Now, I’m no crime scene investigator, but if I entered the scene of a crime to find a man laying on the floor holding a power drill that was still running with eleven matching holes in his head, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t immediately presume foul play was impossible. But that’s why there are P.I.s like Ryder who go the extra mile.

Unfortunately for Ryder, he tries to go the “extra mile” with Petruska, and all he gets is a slap in the face and nearly killed by Andreas Danton. Favorite nephew of Rebecca Danton. Leader of the Danton family. The Danton family that Hudson thought was a family of demons.

I know what you’re thinking. That sounds crazy right? Well, it’s not. It’s a comic book, so anything can happen.

Oh, also, Andreas Danton is totally a demon. And so is his whole family.

Feeling like a dummy yet? ‘Cause you should.

Not as dumb as Ryder, however. Despite being mauled halfway to death by a giant demon in the middle of the street after unloading a full clip into him, which only made him mad, and then being rescued by a masked hero with a mysterious gun that fires green anti-demon bullets, Ryder remains skeptical of the man who saved his life. After he leaves Ryder alone in his apartment to go and save Petruska from more Danton-demons, Ryder decides the best course of action is to turn the anti-demon gun on his rescuer when he returns. What he doesn’t know is that touching the mysterious green bullets, which he does, will infect human flesh, which it does, and the only cure is amputation of whatever limb it infects.

You can see where this is going.

So, the comic ends as gruesomely awesome as it started. Ryder gets his hand cut off by a machete and we are left waiting for the second book to tell us what the h*ll just happened.

If by this point you’re still not convinced that Hine’s “Ryder on the Storm” is not a comic series for you, then I can’t help you. Book one of this series will make you wish that book two and three were part of it so you wouldn’t have to waste time putting down the first one to pick up the second one.

To read this or other series, check out Radical Publishing.

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