Space Riders #2 Review

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by Alexis Ziritt, Fabian Rangal Jr, Ryan Kelly

“Space Riders” is a special kind of comic. It wears its influences (Star Wars, Voltron, Battlestar Galatica, Starship Troopers, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin) on its sleeve, but still feels new yet recognizable.

The issue opens with a man named Peligro, from a cadet joining the Space Riders to his eventful battles as a Captain to meeting his current crew mates, a deadly cyborg and religious humanoid Baboon. Captain Pelogro leads them from one scenario to the next, from fighting an alien mob to being captured inside a giant robot-ship after saving a space whale.

The art is pulpy and striking, I could stare at it for hours. The colors are vibrant and flowing, like the best of Marvel comics during the 70s.

Although I love the art, in some panels a lack of contrast between colors had me confused at what I was looking at. Muted red next to pure neon green is not the best combo. Also, the art is perfect for capturing a single scene or moment but feels cramped when depicting a second.

Overall, an entertaining throwback Sci-Fi comic. I thoroughly enjoyed the crazy obstacles and the character interactions, as well as the groovy art. At times the visual story telling doesn’t fully coalesce, but they’re still a treat. Despite being the second issue, this is a great place to start and enjoy two creators jamming on power cosmic.

This Week’s Finest: Astro City #12

mar140284Astro City #12 by Kurt Busiek & Graham Nolan

Kurt Busiek has a gift, and it is vital to the success of Astro City. Most of the tales in Busiek’s series are told through the perspectives of people normally on the periphery of traditional superhero adventures. One issue you might spend some time with a super-team’s phone operator, another a mob lieutenant responsible for the waterfront. There are exceptions, most notably the recent excellent four-parter about Winger Victory, but these are rare. Usually, even if the focus is on a powered individual it is one living a quiet life away from the spotlight.

One of the trickier aspects of this narrative approach is that every issue or two ushers in a new character. The rub is making each of these protagonists a distinct individual in fresh circumstances. The reader cannot feel like “oh wait, an assistant to a sorceress? Didn’t I read something like that back in issue . . ?” This is where Busiek’s genius reveals itself. He is able to express the voices of his characters so well that it only takes a few pages for me to be swept up in their story. It may be the most conventional of set-ups (happily married man living in the suburbs, for example), but in Busiek’s hands it is as compelling as ever.
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Review of Injection #1

Injection 1by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

After close to a year of anticipation, the debut issue of Injection feels more like writer Warren Ellis’s Trees then the creative teams Moon Knight, with an incredibly measured introduction that’s heavy on build up but light in almost everything else. As much as can be gleamed from the first issue, Injection seems to be about a group of scientist reeling from the past trauma of a shared experience in different states and places at the time of the story. I say seems to because there is so little to go on that it’s hard to even come up with a basic synopsis of the story in terms of actual plot content. Mostly, Injection is a series of conversations and to their credit, the team makes the conversation intriguing and engaging, you can almost understand a sense of who these people are and what this book is about from that but it’s never very clear. This is basically the polar opposite of the teams Moon Knight run, which was hyper compressed and deliberate from the opening panel going forward. It’s nearly impossible to come away from Injection without a jarring feeling if you had any expectation at all based on the teams past work. And that’s fine, I wouldn’t expect Ellis, Shalvey & Bellaire to get together again just to make Moon Knight at Image comics but the reversal in style and tone is probably the most pronounced aspect of the book for better or worst. That’s a long way of saying in sum total that this comic isn’t Moon Knight, but moreover, it isn’t really anything. The team has earned my trust and patience that it will shape into something as the series evolves and what little we do see hints at some potential but as of now, the book itself is almost as much a mystery after reading it’s content as before I knew anything. Take from that what you will, just don’t expect to take very much.

Batman’s Adventures on the Radio

Batman Radio
Batman uses the radio to foil “The Carbon Copy Killer” in BATMAN #38 (art by Jim Mooney, script by Bill Finger)

Almost two years after Superman debuted in Action Comics #1, Superman starred in his own radio program, The Adventures of Superman, beginning in February 1940.   In the 1940s, television was an expensive, rare luxury, but over 82% of American households owned a radio.  The Adventures of Superman was broadcast in fifteen minute episodes, and reached millions of American households; the radio program was listened to by both kids and adults.  Given the commercial success of The Adventures of Superman, it is surprising that Batman and Robin – two popular superhero characters also owned by Superman’s publishers – never starred in their own radio program.

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