In Review: Drone: Fatal Error #3

This was a letdown in story and art from the previous issues.

The cover: In a small room lit only by one light, David Weaver is handcuffed to a chair. The only other occupant in the room is a drone which holds a gun as it keeps vigil upon him. This is a very minimalistic cover that works wonderfully for this issue. I’m going to assume that Randy Kintz drew the cover and Ivan Plascencia colored it, though there is no specific credits listed. When last readers saw David he was being captured by the Chinese drones, so this image reminds readers of where the story left off and what the hero’s fate may be. The use of green gives this a sickly tone and the blacks show how isolated David is. Well done by both men. Overall grade: A

The story: “Kadena Air Base. Okinawa, Japan.” The commanding officer is briefing the drone operators (which include Catherine Dixon, Mark Zhou, and Philip Trumbull) about what’s occurred and the current assumed locations of kidnapped David and McKinney. They’re being sent back to Creech Air Force Base in the U.S. until the military can decide what to do with the drone program. David and McKinney are being considered casualties. As they leave, the three realize they can’t just do nothing, but as Cat says, “…We’d better figure out what they wanted with them in the first place.” The scene then moves to where the two victims are being held at gunpoint by the Chinese. They are shown the massive drone army that the Chinese have built based on the technology they stole in the previous Drone series. What they need David for makes perfect sense, something that anyone that uses any form of technology can understand. Once this necessity is brought up writer Scott Chitwood takes this penultimate issue into some serious territory. A countdown clock is established for David to make a decision, while at the same time his friends in the states discover a way they can assist. Page 19 contains the most dramatic element of this series yet. The final page triggers a major changing point of the book and will have readers cheering. As much as I enjoyed this, I admit to being very uncomfortable with the cast of characters introduced on Page 13. If I were to have known what was coming on this page, I would have been able to generate practically the exact same individuals. This pushed the story beyond the level of believability for me in this instance, and that’s saying something for a book that focuses on remote controlled robots. This is a significant enough quibble to hurt this book’s grade. Overall grade: C+ 

The art: I’ve mentioned in previous reviews how much I like the visuals of the drones drawn by Randy Kintz. His scenes involving these mechanical characters have allowed me to overlook the somewhat sketchy quality he has with his human characters. I couldn’t do that this issue because there was so little of the drones. I think if he spent more time refining his humans the book would be a better experience. Case in point, Page 1, panel four: Phillip’s arm is a sloppy construction at an unbelievable angle with a dagger-like point. His arms are ginormous on Page 13. Look at Cat in the final panel on Page 1: her face is a mess and her lips look like the survivors of a bad collagen injection. She doesn’t even resemble the same character that appears on 12. The page that introduces the drone army is a sketch — nothing is completed. Every page contains some visual element that will make a reader wince. I was incredibly disappointed in the art for this issue. Overall grade: C-

The colors: I was more pleased with the colors on this book, done by Ivan Plascencia. I like the cool colors he uses when rooms are blanketed with computers, such as on the first page and when the gang gets back to the U.S. The last three panels on Page 2 show that Plascencia is good on exterior scenes, but these are the only ones for this issue. The colors used for where the heroes are kept have the expected stone and metal tones that are typical in these situations and they looked good. I liked that the characters introduced on 13 got their own unique color to differentiate them from one another, though the choices made me think of the Eighties. I’m liking what Plascencia is doing. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Troy Peteri provides scene settings, dialogue, drone speech, and an important sound. There’s not much variety for him to do in this issue, but Peteri does a solid job. Overall grade: B

The final line: This was a letdown in story and art from the previous issues. I hope it finishes much stronger. Overall grade: C+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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