By Fabian Rangel Jr, Alexis Ziritt, Ryan Ferrier
One of my favorite Black Mask series is back again, with balls-out weirdness and psychedelic art.
Despite the number of books I read this week from the major publishers, how excited I was for them before reading, or how enjoyable the previous stack was, none of them really had that creative spark. I didn’t feel the same satisfaction with some of my other favorite series, as though most of them hit an off month. It happens, you write and draw something for months on end its only natural one falls short of the mark. After I finished Space Riders, I knew it was the only issue I could pick.
Space Riders is about a trio of galactic policemen on the skull ship Santa Muerte, led by a no-nonsense Captain Peligro, his trusty android Yara, and spiritualistic first mate (whose also a humanoid baboon) Mono. They travel through the universe busting heads and serving up hot plates of justice.
This issue sees our heroes saving a ship of refugees from space pirates, which quickly escalates and sends Captain Peligro into limbo. Right before he faces oblivion, he’s saved in the nick of time by a sultry green goddess. Meanwhile, Mono and Peligro have parted ways over the latter’s aggressive interrogation techniques and Mono has gone to search for something called the Secret Fire.
Yeah, this book gets nuts which is why I love it. It’s unlike any other comic, even the ones with a similar premise.
Alexis Ziritt’s art reminds me of those Adult Swim animated bumps. It’s loose and raw, maybe even grotesque at times (in a good way). At the same time, the visuals are like something out of an acid trip. The colors are garish and neon like, while Ziritt just packs the page with one freaky image after the next. The way the art is drawn just looks like a dozen sharpie markers were used over and over to layer the shading and fill in the colors. I’m unaware of how Ziritt’s artistic process works, or if he even follows the standard “pencils, inks, colors” method that many comic artists use.
Together with the off-kilter art, Space Riders has an avant-garde pulp quality to it. I’m never sure what to expect, but I always have a general feeling of what I’ll get and I’m never let down. The characters follow familiar archetypes, but the story twists and turns on a dime. Also, the art is phenomenal. It makes me glad that Black Mask doesn’t constantly turn out the same series month after month, and gives creators time to work on their projects.
With its unconventional art, surprising story twists, and a creativity unparalleled by more mainstream boos, Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #1 is without a doubt This Week’s Finest. It’s accessible to new readers and offers up a refreshing tale of outer space antics that I know neither Marvel or DC can approach. Do yourself a favor and pick up this issue while jamming to some Pink Floyd.
Disclosure: Publisher Black Mask provided a review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site and publisher or agreement on the review’s content.