2602.Beginnings are such delicate times, to paraphrase a phrase that should identify me as the subculture geek I am. It is with this pithy sentiment, then, that we turn to consider the newest local band-of-compadres in comics, the Dutch Bros. Freedom Fighters.
Yes, our favorite Oregonized coffee experience has decided to go into the print realm, with a punchy little publication aiming to be filled with the same Dutchy goodness that fills every Annihilator, breve, and ER-911 that come from the ol' Blue-and-White. Available for the asking at your local Broze kiosk - wherever you may find them, and they're a-springin' up all over, much to the delight of those of us who've been put under that particular spell - it looks to be the first issue of an adventure series driven by the love of comics, the love of coffee, and the desire to celebrate both.
The story thus far: One fine day in Dutch-land, as a square-jawed, mulleted, cheefrul barista serves a be-fro'd customer beverages prepared by the razor-sharp and dapper Pez (who bears a no-doubt-intentional resemblance to the Dutch Bros Mafiosi from the ubiquitous sticker) an angry Holstein secret-agent driving a DMC-12 and with an enormous cow-chip on her shoulder and the desire to undermine the good feelings that is Dutch Bros Back-To-The-Futures our three fellows into a cave with a just-awakened - and cranky - dragon, who clearly has not had his caffiene yet.
Riding to the rescue is the decidedly babe-a-licious Princes Penny who gives our fellows the knowledge they need to tame (for now, anyway) the ferocious beast - turned out he just needed his morning coffee. Who knew?
The Holstein, Mad Cow (Agent 0015) retreats with her martial-art-infused frog sidekick to plan another revenge. And the boys have to figure out a way home.
These three fellows along with Princess Penny complete the quartet known as the Dutch Bros. Freedom Fighters, with adventure sure to ensue.
The comic was drawn by Grants Pass comic artist (and Iguana Comics owner) Jeff Egli, with scripting by Jason Hetzer and editorial direction by a Bros scion, Brant Boersma. There's an interesting bit of shared history here, according to this interview on the blog Wut Eye Read, Brant was one of the first box subscribers during Iguana's first incarnation - and when they opened it up again, Brant came in and wondered if his old box was available. Things evidently snowballed from there.
So, I'll admit to a pro-Broze bias. I enjoy pretty much everything about Dutch Bros from the attitude of the employees to the Annihlator (which they will add maple syrup to for me … mmmmhm, maple). With this in mind, what can we say about the Fighters' first outing?
It was good, but, character-wise, kind of weak. Origin stories are always a bit tricky to pull off, and the story makes sense, but I felt as though I had to keep going back to see if there was something I missed. I'm still not terribly clear on the names of all the characters - I think the one with the 'fro is simply called Fro, and I never did see the mulleted-one referred to by name. Princess Penny makes for a very strong character but the fellas are going to have to come to the fore or she'll pretty much steal the show from them.
That put out there, the artist and writer did give themselves a heck of a job to do, and that is establishing real characters based on a certain Dutch Bros je ne sais quoi in the space of just a handful of pages. Clearly they are up to the task, but it's going to take another issue perhaps to do it.
Despite this, the comic is a fun romp. No complaints about the artistic style, I thought that was well pulled-off, and the idea of a dragon that only needs to be served a steaming cuppa every day by a lovely young lady to be calmed - well, a lot of people I know wouldn't mind being that dragon.
I plan on keeping an eye out for Issue 2. Issue 1 is still available at your local Broze. Rumor is that they aren't going to be printing any more, so you may have a collectors item on your hands if you can score one. A must for anyone who's a member of the Dutch fan club.
Overall Grade: B-