Drones Vol. 1
Two women–each other’s nemeses. Louise Fernbach and Yun Shao. One a European soldier, the other a Catholic terrorist from China. Ever since she discovered Yun Shao was behind the deaths of some of her fallen comrades, Louise has been out for her blood. Whatever it takes. Louise shows no mercy. Louise is a drone pilot. For her, wars are just video games she plays from Copenhagen HQ. For Yun Shao, they are a fight to the death with disposable machinery. Welcome to modern warfare…
Talk about an interesting concept. Drones Vol. 1: Hellfire (originally titled Drones – T1. LE FEU D’HADES) is a futuristic wartime graphic novel which asks readers to follow a personal vengeance-fueled story that sheds light on a much larger real-world dynamic on the motivations of war. If you can wrap your head around the dichotomy of Louise Fernbach and Yun Shao, this one will surprise you with it’s overt moral dilemmas.
Drones is the type of book that you don’t really see here in the United States, but it’s something that I couldn’t help but be interested in because of the global implications. This is a story of advanced first-world nations and their impact on impoverished areas that get embroiled in conflict. Yet, it’s told through a very character driven perspective following two mortal enemies. While Louise Fernbach, the European soldier who is naive to the trauma of the power she wields, is immediately recognizable, the same cannot be said of Yun Shao. As a catholic terrorist from China, this character immediately thrusts the narrative into international significance. But does the book handle these weighty themes well?
As an action-packed sci-fi with two badass women, yes. But as an exploration into the dynamics of both nationalistic wars and the personal motivations that drive them, it’s a bit lacking. Louise’s naivety and strong sense of elitism contrasted with Yun Shao’s more grounded and faithful worldview helps to shape an engaging story, but in Vol. 1, it feels like it’s just unsure what to do with it. Maybe it just needs more time to pull the threads together, but there just isn’t enough substance to the obvious elements at play. Louise doesn’t experience much hardship in the trap that Yun Shao unveils at the end, costing only a drone that wasn’t her own, and she resorts to doubling down on her vengeance. All while two parents are learning of the death of their child, showing the true cost of Louise’s obliviousness. But it’s just too little, too late.
Despite these issues, it really is a fun book for those looking for some intense wartime sequences. The drones bring a cool sci-fi aspect mixed with different technological advancements, and the missions to take on the terrorists push a more realistic approach quite well. The visuals pull this complicated feat off and more. The characters are memorable and the locations beautiful. It has a big-budget feel but still captures nuances in character drama that helps to flesh the story out. The biggest complaint is the lettering though. This is understandable given it is a translated comic and lettering is not usually afforded the importance it needs, this book just struggled to do anything more than bland lettering.
Drones Vol. 1 is an intense futuristic action story with just enough depth to keep you interested. It might not be the best thing you’ve ever read but it sure knows how to entertain. Bringing two women to the forefront of war is great to see, but hopefully in the next volume they can become more than just opposite ends of action-star roles. If you have Comixology Unlimited, this is definitely worth checking out, and at only just under 50 pages, it’s a great book to read in one sitting.
Drones Vol. 1: Hellfire is a futuristic wartime graphic novel which asks readers to follow a personal vengeance-fueled story that attempts, to limited success, to shed light on a much larger real-world dynamic on the motivations of war. It's good, but it had potential to be great.
Drones Vol. 1: Hellfire
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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