Dry County #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Creator: Rich Tommaso
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Life in Dry County isn’t all sunshine and roses for Lou Rossi. The loner comic strip writer for the Miami Herald is stuck in a rut trying to find romance in a nightclub he hates, when he stumbles across the woman of his dreams at his apartment’s laundry area. The two of them hit it off, go on a couple dates, but when the past comes up, things start getting a little complicated. Will Lou be able to hold on, or is this just a bright flash in his otherwise dull existence?
There’s a lot to like about this comic book put out by one-man-show Rich Tommaso. First of all, the writing is very clever. The scene in Dry County #1 where Lou meets Janet in the laundry area was very entertaining: from their banter to the descriptions of their personal items wrestling each other in the dryer. You also can’t help but feel for the guy from the first panel where he is already over the emptiness that is the nightclub scene and how he ends up doing things he hates because he just wants to find someone. The people at his job are jerks. His best friend leaves him vomiting back up the night’s libations. And when things start to perk up due to his relationship with Janet, you still get the sense that the carpet will get yanked out from under his feet at any moment.
The artwork in Dry County #1 was also a bright spot of the book as you feel transported back to 1980s Miami, all bright neon colors. And, at the same time, the almost Hergé-like artwork gives it a classic feel that makes you feel like you’re watching a 1950s crime movie with a soundtrack that heavily features bongos. The story is light-hearted but has an edge of dark humor creeping in, and the artwork reflects that perfectly. And speaking of reflect, one of my favorite moments (going back to that laundry scene, I know) was the comment that they had to share the dryer, and you see both of their faces reflected in the dryer as they were talking. Very minor detail that still speaks volumes to the creativity of the author. The notebook-style narration technique also blends very well with the comic.
As charming as this was to read, by the time I finished this first issue, I was left wondering what the point of it was. It says right on the cover that it’s a crime story, but there’s very little crime story to this first issue. It does a fine job setting up the scene for the rest of what’s to come, but I thought it ended a little too early. You get little glimpses from Janet’s past and his friend reporting mildly suspicious activity, but there was no immediate tension present by the time the issue closes out.
Verdict: Wait and see.
I really did enjoy reading Dry County #1, but I can’t justify telling you to go out and spend your hard-earned dollars on this quite yet just because you’ll probably be left wanting by the time you reach the end. I’m sure the action will pick up more by the second book, but I’m still having a hard time recommending a book where not much really happens.