Synopsis: OLIVER re-imagines Charles Dickens’ most famous orphan as a post-apocalyptic superhero fighting to liberate a war-ravaged England while searching for the truth about his own mysterious origins.
Review: Written by Gary Whitta with artwork from Darick Robertson. This new comic book series gives a completely new take on one of Charles Dickens most iconic characters.
Things get underway fairly quickly as Whitta shows us a world in which London has pretty much been leveled thanks to a nuclear strike. After a fair bit of introductory dialogue to set the scene we see a young woman surrounded by a group of men. She is giving birth and it is quite an event given that it is the first pureblood birth that has taken place for a while. When the woman dies the men debate what to do with the child and decide to take care of him and call him Oliver.
The story moves forward three years and we see Oliver running through the streets and across rooftops and generally giving the guys he has been living among the runaround.
The world building in this first issue is really, really strong and I get the sense that this opening issue is just one small fragment of what could turn out to be a massive story. Especially given that to date we have only met this small group of men who survived and haven’t met any iterations of the classic characters as yet other than Oliver himself who looks like he’s coming from a much less nieve and innocent place than the original incarnation.
All that said. I can’t wait to see what Gary Whitta does with characters like Mr. Bumble and Fagan should he actually decide to go there.
Darick Robertson is an artist that can slip easily between many genres whether it be comics, film or television. And what he delivers here is really moody and atmospheric. One of the first panels you see in the first few pages is a skull, which pretty much sets a scene for what is a human struggle to survive in harsh post-apocalyptic conditions.
The panels where Oliver is being born are particularly dramatic with the obvious contorted expressions a woman would most likely have while giving birth, but the scene is rendered in a beautiful and poetic way but tinged with sadness because you pretty much know that Oliver’s mother is not going to survive. The fact that she arrived at the camp wearing a radiation suit perhaps being a giveaway, but the other one is the fact that she never survives in the book either.
This is a really interesting take on a classic Dickens character and I’m looking forward to where the story will go from here. So much so that I hit the subscribe button on my Comixology account.