Review – Oliver #1 (Image Comics)

Oliver #1 Cover Image
  • Writing - 9.3/10
  • Art - 9.5/10
  • Overall - 9.5/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Oliver #1

Author: Gary Whitta (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Book Of Eli)
Drawn by: Darick Robertson (HAPPY!, Transmetropolitan, The Boys)
Rating: T+
Genre: Science Fiction. Fantasy
Release Date: January 23rd, 2019

In this totally new take on a literary classic, Charles Dickens’ most famous orphan is reimagined as a post-apocalyptic superhero fighting to liberate a war-ravaged England while searching for the truth about his own mysterious origins. 


A Dickensian Reimagining in Oliver #1

Oliver #1 has been 15 years in the making and is a new take on the literary classic. Oliver now exists in a post-apocalyptic world with a mysterious origin working to liberate England, a country in turmoil. 


This is a terrific story! As an avid Dickens fan, I’m all over this imaginative retelling of Oliver. In Oliver #1 Gary Whitta really has a passion for storytelling and it comes through here.

Whitta’s retelling has been 15 years in the making and it really stands to him in the writing. Each page is filled with fast-paced writing and I was hooked instantly. Whitta comes from a movie background with Rogue One and his roots are very visible here. That is, the style is effortless.

In this retelling, clones are manufactured by the military. After nuclear devastation, the clones have no use after the war and are left to the ruined cities that conventional humanity can no longer inhabit.

At this early stage in the comic, it’s hard to see what parallels it will have with the novel sharing its name, as any that have been made so far aren’t overtly obvious. However, the story really stands by itself in its own right. The first installment deals with how Oliver came to be in the first place and the mystery that surrounds him. There is a world at war. And the characters in this world are well-written and an interesting reimagining of the classic characters. I’m excited to see how these characters develop. 

Oliver #1 Preview (Image Comics)
Oliver #1 Preview (Image Comics)


Of course, a major part of the story is in the artwork. And the artwork really is visually stunning, although it’s hard to think it would be otherwise with Darick Robertson attached. The colors and linework are equally dystopian and Dickensian. And where Whitta gives us action, Robertson gives us richness. 

Additionally, Robertson’s depictions of London are visually stunning. Like stepping into a dystopian movie, you have a jagged skyline and well-known landmarks are now wreckage. Pigeons also make an impact here. And while Robertson talks about “brick fatigue” these little details only add to the dissonant feel. The earthy tones that Robertson uses meld both classic and apocalyptic beautifully. I really can’t praise the artwork enough!


This is skillful storytelling at it’s finest, with many facades to it; Oliver works as a superhero origin story, a coming-of-age story or, as with the Dickens classic, a social commentary about life on the margins of society. We’re shown a world not only on the brink of destruction but very much there. Even at this early stage, I’ve invested in this series. It really ticks all the boxes on my comic list—an apocalyptic world, an exploration into society and a great story and artwork. The comic isn’t released until the 23rd of January but I would encourage everyone to go check it out. 

Thanks again to Image Comics for sending us a copy to review! 

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About the author

Therese Walsh

Thérèse is an Anthropologist, Klingon enthusiast and bookworm. She's second generation nerd with a passion for everything Star Trek, Star Wars and generally everything! She's based in Ireland and lives with her husband and two fur babies Yoda the Dog and Zombie the Cat

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