Riptide: Draken – Scott Chitwood and Danny Luckert (Red 5 Comics)

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The first Riptide comic series with its strong characters, surprising story and scientific accuracy enticed me to the second series. For more on the first series read my interview with writer Scott Chitwood here. Whilst Riptide Draken is set years after this first book and works as a standalone there are some nods to the main character Hannah’s past. This series isn’t as character based as the first one but is equally thrilling. Nessie is discovered by Hannah and her group of scientists and it isn’t long before others are searching for Nessie for their own agenda.

Like with the first series the obstacles keep building up on Hannah at a steady pace and there are several surprises in the story including some of the deaths. However, several story elements were predictable like the journalist finding out about Nessie. A strength of this comic is its realistic portrayal of reactions to Nessie. Whether it’s the bosses on the oil rig trying to get back on schedule or the protestors, this is how people would behave to such an amazing discovery. Another strength is the science behind the script reminds me of creature films, but the oil rig environment is a different setting to most and Scott’s work experience helps ground this story in reality.

The art is more important to this story than the first Riptide series not least with Nessie’s design and there are many positives on the art side. There is no shortage of Plesiosauruses in the panels and there are close up, shadow shots and everything in between. Danny Luckert made an interesting design in going for a more muted blood choice when people are injured rather than gory and the shades of red work well. There are cover variants for each of the four issues that make up this graphic novel and I can’t choose between the normal comic style and classic inspired painted style covers.

I did have two issues with the art in this series though, but one is more preference. It irks me when a comic chooses a scene which is isn’t important in the comic for the cover image as I find it misleading. Comic two has a Viking cover but this story is set in modern times and Vikings are only mentioned a page or two. The bigger problem was the sound effect designs didn’t work for me. They were pop arty, too many red sound effects and looked basic.

In conclusion this is a thrilling comic which despite its creature focus is realistic in its interpretation of people’s behaviour. The art is eye catching particularly the covers, but the sound effects looked simple. David Jenkins

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