Written and Drawn by Stefano Martino | Published by Amigo Comics
It’s quite refreshing sometimes to go into a new book knowing very little about it, and with this book I had the hat-trick. I didn’t know the publisher, the creator, or the character. The publisher, Amigo Comics, are a relatively new company working out of Spain that focus on producing creator-owned books, and from what I have seen that means both quality and variety. The creator, Italian Stefano Martino, I had in fact vaguely been aware of through some American comic books he did for DC Comics but he apparently has a long pedigree in European comics too. The character, Alan Dracon, who I assume to be a new creation, is a jaded bodyguard just trying to make a living in a pretty hostile and volatile future. That seems a pretty promising combination to me.
After a gruesome start, with a scientist becoming monster chow, we meet our hero Alan Dracon, who as an elite bodyguard/ security specialist is being hired by the company who employed the now somewhat badly chewed up scientist to protect other members of staff working on a secret government contract. Dracon is clearly more complicated and moral minded than he admits, as we learn he used to be a hitman for the government but grew tired of the killing and left.
The dead scientist, Dr Hans, apparently left a data trail, in which his research was going elsewhere rather than where it should have been going, and Alan and the scientist he is protecting, Dr Demaite, are attacked by the same creature that killed Hans when they investigate his home. Alan of course rescues the damsel in distress, Dr Demaite, and leaves her safely with friend and neighbour Matt, a journalist who has known Alan many years. The decoded data reveals industrial espionage and murder, and scientific research being used to create genetic freaks and monsters. Far from being solved, Alan realises this case is just starting. How deep does this go? Who else is involved?
This was a surprisingly strong first issue, the writing throughout was very good. I especially liked the fact we never felt as though Alan Dracon just arrived, fully formed, to have an adventure in isolation. Constant mentions of his past, previous cases, memories help draw out a living, breathing character and world. It also leaves open huge possibilities for future stories, either revisiting old cases or creating new ones from them. I also enjoyed Alan’s first person narration, which gave a detective genre feel to a on the surface pure action hero/science fiction story. That’s not to say the writing is perfect of course. Alan, although likeable is a very cliché character. Suave, handsome, moral, superb fighter, popular with the ladies; all qualities that were fine in 80′s/90′s comics, but feel a little simplistic in these more jaded times.
The art is in black and white, which was initially disappointing, but to be honest you soon forget as the pace of the story carries you along visually. Colour would have been nice though, given the choice. Nothing groundbreaking art wise, but solid layouts and visuals throughout. I enjoyed the feel of the art a lot, it had the feel of early 90′s Marvel UK about it, a real retro feel that I’m not sure was intentional or not. I f someone had told me this was dusted down inventory from Marvel UK circa 1994 I would not have batted an eyelid. Either way, not a complaint, as it perfectly suited the in many ways retro writing and feel of the whole book. This is how the future used to look.
A pleasant surprise all round. I expected a routine sci-fi actioner, but got a fun, 90′s style comic book romp with a gloriously old fashioned hero.
Please, sir, can I have some more.
Alan Dracon #1 is available now from Amigo Comics