With the gaining popularity of crowd funding, more and more comic books are being funded on Kickstarter. Most are unknown comic creators looking to get their ideas in print, but some are established creators looking for alternatives to the typical publishers. One such book is Denver, written by industry veterans Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with art by relative newcomer Pier Brito. The book is a 72 page stand-alone graphic novel printed and published by Paperfilms. The story takes place in a dystopian future where Denver is one of the few remaining cities in the world. After a meteor hits the moon, the tides go out of whack, causing any city less than a mile off the ground to be flooded. After the dust, or in this case water, settles, Denver is one of the few remaining cities in the world.
Our protagonist, Max Flynn, is a cop who works dock duty. Max makes sure that any new person entering the city has all the proper documents, and that they aren’t brining any contraband into the city. You see, Denver has been closed off to the rest of the world and its population is carefully regulated. The food and space is rationed so that everyone has just enough. Of course, not everyone is happy with the status quo, especially those stuck outside the city. One night Max comes home to find his wife has been kidnapped. The kidnappers demand that Max allow some unregistered boats through into the city. But who they are and what they’re planning I won’t spoil here.
Denver feels very much like The Surrogates or Blade Runner. It has a little social commentary and a little sci-fi all wrapped up in a good ol’ cop drama. The pacing of the book is a little off. It tries to be equal parts dystopian commentary, cop drama and revenge story. While not exactly failing at all three, it doesn’t exactly fit any of them. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, only that the story seems to jump around between the three, never quite resting anywhere. The issues of a select few choosing who can enter the city is touched on by the protagonists, but it’s never really discussed more than “It’s what is necessary, so that’s why we do it.” There’s also the ‘will they or won’t they’ tension between Max and his female partner that’s brought up throughout the book that’s never really resolved. Every time it’s brought up it’s a little awkward and on the nose.
While the dialogue throughout the book is a little stale at times, the characters are intelligent and well written. There are many times throughout the book where the story could have fallen into any of the typical cop drama clichés, but manages to skirt them and chart its own course. Pier Brito’s art is top notch throughout the book. His colors are very reminiscent of Dean White’s work on Thor: God Of Thunder. The colors are vibrant, and catch the mood of each situation perfectly. From the choppy waters at the docks on a late night, to massive explosions, each one is perfectly colored.
All in all, Denver is a solid graphic novel. The story is a fresh idea, and is executed well. The art is top notch as well and would look right at home at your local comic shop. The book is also printed on some of the highest quality paper I’ve seen, putting Marvel and even some of Image’s trades to shame. This Kickstarter was well worth the money and wait time for the book to ship. I hope to see many future projects from the Denver team appear on Kickstarter in the future,