"Act 1: Dogs of War"
Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Publisher: Image Comics
The 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. No, I am not going to make a sales pitch or go on an automotive-fanboy slobber-fest rant about the aforementioned car. The reason my using it for starting my review was to shine a light on the "ride" in, well, The Ride. Although having had quite a few stories published under its name, The Ride isn’t an ongoing, even one disguised as a series of one-shots and minis. The stories are most often than not unrelated, and only every once in a while will an element from one story find its way into another one. This brings me back to the 1968 Camaro for it is the one common thread weaving all The Ride stories together. It's not the same car mind you, but from the same model year/family.
The Ride: Die Valkyrie is a three part miniseries with this first part being the opener. However, to say that it is just the opener would be an understatement. Not only does this issue introduce the readers to the main characters of this story, set up the main plot and introduce the secondary one, it is also jam packed to the gill with overall content development. By that I mean development of both the characters and plots. For someone whose previous The Ride reading was limited to The Ride #2 and last month’s The Ride: Savannah, I cannot discern which elements have already been established and which are new. However, from the way it is being played out, the secondary plot, involving a certain character named Laci, might be a carry-over from previous The Ride tales. For a quick intro Laci is a (reformed?) "Bad-Girl" who now seems to be involved with the church. Here she is shown to be with a group of nuns and apart from your usual, run-of-the-mill badgirl scene, there isn’t much happening with her.
The main plot stars the trio of Becca, Cleo and Ting. Kicking off as a road-trip, things take a turn for the nasty when the ride that Becca "borrows" from her ex-con dad turns out to be, uh, intended for other uses, namely weapons-trafficking. As for her two pals-in-deep-doo-doo, Cleo is recently dumped (I think), for whom the girls set out to make the trip in the first place, (to go and beat her ex). That leaves Ting, and apart from the pet ferret that is her constant companion, her claim to notoriety comes from her cutting (self-mutilation) habit.
Regarding the art, as thriller-paced the story is, it just wouldn’t be the same without the Brian Stelfreeze’s visuals. It reminded me quite a bit of Cully Hamner’s style; the done in black and white visuals of Ride-Valkyrie are as human as they are funny and as funny as they are lively. Be it the 3-Girls plotline or the one with Laci and the nuns, each panel just holds the reader's attention. Well, it held mine.
Conclusion: With next issue’s Girls Gone Wild: Taking Down a Cop special, I have just three words left to say. To quote Aah-nold, “I’ll be Back!”
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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