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May 17, 2011

Touring the Cosmos: Drafted Essential Edition

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Written by: mike
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Earthquakes in Ottawa and Berlin. Mental attacks in Israel. Jerusalem buried in sand. All of this can only mean one thing: an alien invasion is upon us! Drafted takes a look at what the world would be like if every member of mankind was forced to take up arms to preserve the future of humanity.

Mark Powers
Artists: Chris Lie and Rebekah Isaacs
Colorists: Joseph Baker and Caravan Studio (Chapters 11 & 12)
Publisher: IDW/Devil’s Due

Many of us have dreamed what it would be like to be the hero. If vampires really did stalk the night, how would you handle it? When the zombie apocalypse hits, where will you hide and what weapon will you use? Drafted takes us into an Earth where aliens are heading a full blown invasion, and everyone has to pitch in.

Drafted definitely has its own unique take on alien invasions. It feels a bit like an amalgam of Skyline, Starcraft, and District 9, but in the end it takes its own direction and runs with it. From the get-go, strange things start happening. Ottawa and Berlin are hit by massive earthquakes, and nearly every person in Israel is attacked mentally, but all recover. Soon after, a huge sandstorm buries the city of Jerusalem in tons of sand. Another alien force has come to Earth first, and is aiding humanity in preparing to defend itself. The “good” aliens assign particular humans into teams, each with their own special skills. Humans incapable of fighting are left to construction and labor tasks, and only the elderly and children are left alone. The story is given from many viewpoints, which really adds to the human element. From the President of the United States to a paramedic with cancer to a grocery store clerk with daddy issues, Drafted has it all. Even with all of these perspectives, the story never skips a beat. The flow from panel to panel is great, with each view just adding layer after layer without diluting the story or overwhelming the reader.

The art in Drafted really added to the whole experience. There is a hint of manga, which is quite enjoyable. Lie and Isaacs really animated the characters, and even with such a large cast, there was little to no confusion as to who was who. Every time there was a location change it was noticeable, which gives the story a truly worldwide feel. The aliens were particularly drawn well and articulated, especially the invaders. The main characters go through a massive change from start to finish, and the artists actually managed to put detail into that as well. It was easy to tell that at the end of the story, these were battle-hardened warriors and not just regular folk anymore. About 3/4 of the way through the book, the colorist changes from Baker to Caravan Studios, which adds to a spectacular finish.

Mark Powers’s writing throughout Drafted was phenomenal. He crafted a complete story from top to bottom and didn’t miss a beat. Not one single character was bland, or gave you that feeling that they shouldn’t be there. Each one had a purpose and there were no “fillers.” The relationship that Powers was able to create between complete strangers was impressive and showed some true talent. The most amazing part of this story, though, was realizing that not only did Powers manage to create many memorable characters and relationships, but he was also able to capture the emotion of the entire planet. From small scale love stories to widespread panic, Drafted really had a lot to display.

To say this is a top sci-fi read of the year is an understatement. Drafted has so much to offer. The story really envelops a reader into what a war of this scale would be like. From the minor sub-stories to the global panic, nearly every human emotion is touched upon. The cast is large, but you never really lose track of what everyone is doing. It was nice to see minor characters pop up here and there, just so you could get a clearer picture as to how everyone felt. The aliens were really cool, three very different and unique races. The battle sequences were engaging, and the art only made it better. Powers, Lie, and Isaacs really came together to form an awesome trio with plenty of talent. The only real complaint I have is the cliffhanger at the end that has me begging for more!

Click the following links for more from IDW Publishing and Devil’s Due.

For past editions of Touring the Cosmos, click here!

Mike Parente



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