With James Sallis’ novel being presented as the sleekest, smartest heist-gone-wrong story you could possibly want to read, and the film being a neon-fuelled powerhouse for star Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn, what new delights could a comic adaptation hold in store for Drive?
Issue one (of four) drops us right into the action, picking up with the inevitable bloodbath that said heist-gone-wrong was going to lead to. In doing so it’s an honest adaptation to Sallis’ book, with a running order closely resembling the source material. We meet Driver, the man whose career you won’t be mistaking any time soon. Based in LA, he drives stunt cars for Hollywood during the day, and at night hires himself out to anyone with enough cash to hire the top getaway driver in the city.
With the introduction of Cook, a man seeking Driver’s skill set, we get sat down to our lead’s principles; he drives, simple as that. No connection to the crime, other than being the guy who gets them from point A to point B. Even in this opening conversation between the two men, your eyes are already lapping up the diner’s colour palette – out performing the neon glory of the movie with its focus on pinks and blues – these pages look rich enough to eat.
Driver’s character translates better to page than screen, with the strong, silent Ryan Gosling of the film being distant and brooding. One of the delights of sitting down with the book was hearing more about the character’s inner workings, with this comic adaptation being the perfect place to develop his character with internal monologue, while driving home his hard, lone wolf exterior through the visuals.
Thanks to the crossover between one workplace and the other, the character becomes richer with his firm stance and professionalism driving (no, that was not intended) a man to be his very best. The rules he lives by on the movie set mirror those when he’s on the mean streets. Only problem is, in real life he doesn’t get a second take, and you begin to see why this in-and-out heist was not as straight forward as it was promised to be…
With stunts worthy of a classic Roger Corman exploitation movie, the car chases – and inevitable crashes – on these pages are the most over-the-top you’ll see in a Drive adaptation, reminding that when the sky is the limit with what you can achieve with the visuals, and there’s no such thing as stunt budget, why not have a little fun? Loud in both colour and tone, this is a treat for the eyes.
This is indeed an honest adaptation of the source material, which has been shown respect, as well as having its style and sense of urgency cranked up to 11; there’s no real messing around here, so you’re either along for the ride of your life, or left in the dust of Drive.
3 out of 5 Nerds