Fresh off a successful Kickstarter, Datura #1 is due to be shipped soon to eager readers. Created by Trevor Talbott and Diego Olortegui, this science-fiction fueled, family driven action adventure is a trip for readers.
Set in a world filled with high technology, humans and animal-human hybrids, Datura is the story of a young woman who is paying the bills as a rough and tumble bounty hunter. Working for Winema, a woman who owns her own private prison, Datura is a no-nonsense, do-what-it-takes, thinks-quick-and-acts-quicker kind of action hero. Her partner is her younger sister Dahlia, an over eager but capable sidekick that Datura is trying to keep out of “the life” no matter how badly Dahlia wants in. There is a great family dynamic between the two of them that feels very realistic, protective but antagonistic.
There are a few holes in the storytelling that may be filled in over the course of the series, but for the time being leave the reader asking questions as they go. When Datura and Dahlia bring their bounty into the prison, the word bubble simply says “Miranda Heights Prison”, and there’s no introduction of this new character until the middle of the page where Datura calls her Winema. Also, somehow the bounty is now worthless because of nefarious machinations by Mr. Behr, to spite them for scooping up his bounty. The relationship of Mr. Behr in this world is unclear also, why is he collecting bounties but clearly some sort of crime lord casually threatening people’s lives? These are questions that a more experienced writer or the steadying hand of an editor would have crafted the story to avoid or explain in narration. Overall, though, the story is great.
The art by Deigo Olortegui is incredible for a relative unknown. Clean lines with great action, this guy is ready to elevate and the art shows that on the pages popping big time. The pictorial story telling is great with the slight gestures of pulling guns from holsters or grappling hooks from belts are shown in details and the action flows incredibly well. Inexperience does rear its ugly head on the beautiful double page spread in the book though, with the action of Datura is all outside what a publisher would call “the quiet zone”, the zone that it’s recommended that books that will be printed and bound avoid for fear of being cut off by the print machine or lost in “the gutter” if on the bound side. In this case, most of the important action Datura is doing in that gorgeous, highly detailed two-page panel will likely be lost to the binding process in “the gutter.” Respecting the quiet zone is something artists and creators in general learn over time.
The letterer, J. Wright, has done their job perfectly. The font choice is big and fun to read. Wright nailed it. The colors in all the promo work are beautiful, muted yellows and reds with tons of soft pinks and blues and greens. The book nails a feel, of “soft” tough girl storytelling and the imagery all projects this well-crafted imagery.
Overall, Datura is a promising franchise with the minor issues that may be overcome with time and experience. The promo images are stellar. This is the kind of project that could grow from a Kickstarter into an ongoing and find great success. Check it out.