Current Reviews


The Ride: Savannah

Posted: Monday, April 30, 2007
By: Matthew McLean

Writers: Doug Wagner, Steven Prouse
Artists: Mike Bear, Cale Ajioka, Emily Stone, Rob Grabe

Publisher: Image Comics

The Ride takes a good turn in this one-shot. Put together by 12-Gauge comics and the Savannah College of Art and Design, this issue is drawn completely by students at SCAD. No offense to SCAD, but I don’t expect much from student films or comic books. The Ride: Savannah is a pleasant surprise.

While the art may be completely drawn by SCAD students, the writing is handled by regulars Wagner and Prouse. The first portion of the book is a story in three acts entitled, “Savannah Heat.” Wagner and Prouse have enough knowledge to grasp at least some of the cultural identity that makes Savannah, Georgia what it is. A city of contradictions, Savannah is at once famous for its hospitality, deep sense of history, and its high violent crime rate. The latter two are embodied very well in The Ride: Savannah. Both stories in the book are interesting and a break from the past babes and bullets of The Ride. This issue focuses more on tales of the supernatural, with some good, just plain mundane, violence mixed right in.

The story opens with Police Officer Frank Simms being asked a rather dubious favor from his boss. The chief’s daughter has run off to Savannah with some ne’er-do-well, and he wants her brought back. But this is an unofficial action, so Simms must leave his police badge behind and go it in plain clothes. Fortunately, he does get "The Ride": a 1968 Camaro that has enough horsepower to blow the doors off most anything. From there, Simms is caught up in a game of kidnapping, old Southern superstitions and death. The characterization of Simms is well done, considering the short space the story has to work with. An extremely practical man, Simms is thrust into extraordinary circumstances; watching how he handles it is good fun.

The artists of SCAD get to show off their stuff throughout the book and do a good job of it. The transition of pencilers from one chapter to the next is handled well. It does not interfere with the flow of the narrative while at the same time allowing each artist to showcase their style. My personal favorite, though, is Act II, drawn by Cale Ajioka. At the beginning of the second chapter, Simms has been dosed with a psychoactive drug that, among other things, causes hallucinations. Ajioka’s style does a great job of bringing this to the paper, particularly in the visual representation used to show the mental effects of the drug.

All in all, though, the entire book is a good read. At one point in the book it is hinted that Frank Simms, who is already a hard man, has a life of pain and death in front of him. Perhaps if we are lucky we’ll get to see more of him in the future of The Ride.

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