Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spaceman #1 (of 9)

DC Comics/Vertigo, 25 pages, $ 1.00

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Colorists: Patricia Mulvihill, Giulia Brusco
Letterer: Clem Robins
Cover artist: Dave Johnson

If you ever watched a dystopian sci-fi movie in the 1990s—you know, one of those unlikely ones with Arnold Schwarzenegger or Kevin Costner—Spaceman seems quite familiar.

It’s about Orson, a guy built like a gibbon who lives in a post-apocalyptic water-world, uses the kind of technology for phone sex that looks like something straight out of Total Recall or Existenz and earns his keep by trawling for scrap metal. Orson claims to have been part of a government program that genetically modified children for missions to Mars, and if you’ve read the prologue that appeared in the Strange Adventures anthology one-shot a couple months back, there may be something to that. He has flashbacks—or daydreams, as it were—of what looks like a Mars mission.

At some point, while taking his boat out to sea, Orson becomes involved in an abduction case.

And that’s it, pretty much.

There’s the typical, stylized slang Mr. Azzarello tends to pepper his stories with (“Okee,” “That’s LOL LOL LOL,” etc.). There’s Mr. Risso’s attractive, at once expressive and very detailed art. And, once again, they combine to just about sell the characters and their world at any given moment.

But then, it’s all very familiar, and so far there’s not much in terms of urgency or originality here. In some places, the storytelling isn’t altogether clear, either. Towards the end of the book, when the second boat shows up, I had to read that sequence three or four times to comprehend what’s meant to be going on, to whom it’s meant to be happening and on which boat they’re meant to be. It’s not a very well-told scene.

I have enough confidence in this particular creative team to stick around and see how the story plays out, despite the familiarity and the somewhat flawed execution.

Still, so far, there’s not much to see here.

Grade: C

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