REVIEW – Oliver #1

Oliver #1 - Image Comics

Written by Gary Whitta

Art by Darick Robertson

We have seen a growing trend of writers going from movies an in to the world of comic books.  It certainly makes a lot of sense in a medium that puts a huge emphasis on story telling and imagery.  So when you go to re-imagine a Dickens classic, it would certainly make sense to have someone like Gary Whitta at the helm.  Let's dive into the post-apocalyptic world of Oliver.

Right off the bat, you should know that this is quite far from one of the most famous orphan stories of all time.  London is in ruins from the day that Oliver was born.  The birth is actually part of the story early on, and not simply to point out why he is an orphan.  There is a bit of a time jump after that, and obviously, Oliver is trying to understand who he is, where he was brought up and the world around him.  One thing that everyone around him realizes very early, Oliver is not your typical human boy.  We get to see a few examples of why, but at his age it's hard to image that he is aware of it.  In the pages leading up to the conclusion of this issue, there is a very touching heart to heart moment between Oliver and one of the men who raised him.  Not only do we get to find out about the people he was raised with, but insight in to the way the world is now.  After that there really isn't a cliffhanger, but more of a moment where you feel like this is where the story begins.

So I will be 100% honest, when I found out this was a post-apocalyptic story I was a bit disappointed...AT FIRST.  That story has been explored so many times, but this felt very different to me.  Oliver, from the very first page, was very much a character driven story.  It became less about the world itself, and more about the characters in it.  Whitta seems to let the masterful work of Darick Robertson speak for itself.  He didn't need to tell us about the world, when your eyes would be clearly drawn to it thanks to Robertson.  Of course there was a quick explanation of the events, but the rest just all around this tragic tale.  I don't want to spoil one of the big reveals about who ultimately raised Oliver, because it plays such a huge role in what makes this story so interesting.  It's VERY hard to do different in this genre, but Whitta and Robertson managed to pull it off almost effortlessly.  While this may be a play on the Dickens classic, this story easily stands on it's own.  This book has the potential to be one of the top stories in an already amazing catalogue of Image Comics stories.  Do not pass this one up!