Drumhellar is a colorfully bizarre comic series that follows Drum Hellar, a paranormal detective driven by visions towards a small town in South Dakota. With his ghostly sidekick Harold to guide him, Drum encounters strange beings like zombies, werewolves, fiends, and ghosts, in his psychedelic travels. Each new mystery offers a surprising twist from Drumhellar’s creators Riley Rossmo and Alex Link. DRUMHELLAR #3
Writer: Riley Rossmo and Alex Link
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Letterer: Kelly Tindall
Editor: Laura Tavishati
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Drumhellar: Drum Hellar’s lightning-induced visions lead him to a small town in South Dakota. Reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend Padma, they stumble on a lifeless Bogdan, a swamp zombie. The Bogdan awakens and escapes, but the pair follow the Bogdan’s trail to a cattle farm and then a mall, where the Bogdan’s past is revealed to Drum. In her former life, the Bogdan was Sadie, a follower of a pacifist Paiute medicine man named Wovoka. His followers, including Sadie, were killed at Wounded Knee. Drum and Padma take Sadie to the cattle farm where they arrange for the farmer to keep her there.
CONFUSING PLOT AND CHARACTERS
Drum Heller’s paranormal adventures continue with Drumheller #3. Drum goes on the hunt for some ghost triceratops when another vision gets him arrested by the police. It is up to Drum’s ghost sidekick Harold to save the town from the triceratops stampede. After reading through the first three issues of this comic, there is very little clarity or direction with the plot. It is non-linear, often going on a tangent. Although this is the least confusing issue so far, the lack of focus is still frustrating. Several rereads were necessary to understand everything that was happening. If there is structure in this series, it is not apparent from this issue. Drum Hellar’s characteristics require more work and development. He is merely a drifter/paranormal detective fueled by visions and drugs, without clear motivations or history. Although Riley Rossmo establishes Drum as womanizing and lackadaisical, his personality has little substance. Drumheller’s supporting characters also need development. Padma and Harold are comical sidekicks, but their dialogue with Drum makes little sense. There seems to be an antagonist with the introduction of a radio DJ revealed to be looking for Drum. He ages backward from old to young like Benjamin Button, but like the other characters in this story, has little relation to the plot.
Riley Rossmo provides the artwork for Drumhellar, which like the storyline is very random and strange. However, Riley uses this freedom to create bizarrely colorful panels. Although some pages do not match the plot, the artist brings his style of paranormal to the forefront of this issue, blending rural elements with lava-lamp color. Many of the character designs are also unique such as Harold, Drum’s ghostly sidekick. His mannerisms and liquid form allows the artist to depict him without losing his identity. Overall, the creativity and style of Drumhellar is well done.
BOTTOM LINE: NEED MORE DEVELOPMENT AND CLARITY
Riley Rossmo and Alex Link’s Drumhellar needs improvement in terms of plot and character development. Creativity has its limits and Drumhellar attempts to create a comic with great artistry but little direction or narrative. Having to reread the comic to understand it can be frustrating. Although the artwork is amazing, the story does not make any sense.