By the Time I Get to Dallas
Written by Colin Devonshire
Edited by Matt Idelson
Penciled by Juanfrancisco Moyano
Inked by Dario Marin
Coloured by Jay Moyano
Lettered by Jaymes Reed
Published by Pitdoc Press
By the Time I Get to Dallas is a limited series, 200-page graphic novel in five books about a young man struggling to become a doctor in the midst of an apocalyptic public health crisis. What if most of the human population tried to migrate to a single point on the globe? What would happen to them, to the people they left behind, and to the human species? What makes us human? Is it possible to lose our humanity?
Overall I thought this first book was very thought provoking. It’s not your traditional post-apocalyptic story, in the sense that it slows the pace right down. Most other “end of the world” plots focus on the physical changes of an infected person. In many cases, that typical “virus outbreak” set-up leaves people turning in to flesh-eating zombies, civilisations crumbling and people are screaming for their lives. Dallas very much steers clear of that formula.
Instead, this story focuses on something very relatable in our modern culture: human behaviour. I admire the fact that the story breaks away from the traditional set-up and is willing to take risks for the sake of it’s narrative.
The main character is a man called Rudy and in my personal opinion, not a very likeable character. He’s arrogant and egocentric. He’s not your traditional doctor who’s looking to save as many lives as possible. Early on in the story, the student doctor boasts about performing a cardiac massage on a patient who ends up not surviving. In this sense, his lack of compassion makes him very difficult to relate to.
He’s not quite the same as the one we see in the opening of the book, which takes place a few weeks in the future. This leads me to believe that this character’s outlook may change based on what happens. However, I do give credit to writer, Colin Devonshire, for creating a main character who we can simultaneously like and dislike. I find it makes for a more realistic approach, as in real life, not everybody is completely good or completely bad.
The artwork for this story was very compelling and incredibly detailed. Even from the front cover, there is so much going on just on that one page. Penciler, Juanfrancisco and colourist Jay Moyano, were very consistent with the art. The precision that has gone in to this book really shows. It has such a depth that it could easily be adapted in to an animated series or film.
A few panels throughout the story demonstrate how everything from individual panels all the way to the splash pages, has so much to offer the reader. I found myself completely immersed in the scenes. The speech bubbles were clear and easy to follow and often can make a very big difference in how a comic book is read. Jaymes Reed was very precise with the layout of dialogue that’s featured in this first book and manages to keep it contained for the reader, which is a great asset when one considers the volume of dialogue featured throughout.
In conclusion, I found this book to be a good read and enjoyable throughout. I do admire the technique of showing the reader something in the present day and then rewinding back to show us how we got there. The art features a very specific pallet and look and I hope it’s maintained for future issues. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of an explosive opening for a really dramatic effect. I think it could have been far more immersive for the reader.
The book is somewhat left on a cliffhanger, but I get the sense that this is just a set-up to a long and twisted narrative.
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Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments, and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.