Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: DJ Kirkbride
Art & Colour: Nikos Koutsis
Letters & Design: Frank Cvetkovic
Release Date: 3rd October 2018
Jace Lopez is a Runner, it’s all he’s ever known. Runners move dangerous and often illegal cargoes for dangerous and often criminal people. His days are spent running from people with guns, lots of guns and jumping from skyscrapers, lots of skyscrapers. Despite a glamourous life of being shot at and jumping/falling from high places, Jake’s life is not a happy or particularly profitable one and when his partner walks out on him things can’t possibly get worse… that is until he is saddled with his teenage half-brother.
This has all the ingredients to make a great space opera. You’ve got a handsome, charming rogue, intergalactic crime syndicates, dangerous alien worlds to explore, a femme fatale and an irreverent sense of humour. Unfortunately, for me it just doesn’t quite come together. Kirkbride’s concept is solid enough but this first issue is really disjointed, which I don’t think is helped by the add-on flashbacks at the end of the main story. I just didn’t get the excitement or the drama that I should have felt, and even the opening chase seemed laboured.
There are quite a few action/sci-fi books out there right now that are hitting it out of the park every month (The Weatherman & Cemetery Beach being the standout titles for me) so this is a tough genre to be a part of, and any new comic really needs to be producing something special to get noticed. I feel like Kirkbride was trying to make Jace a mixture of Han-Solo and Ash Williams but unfortunately, he has none of their charm, charisma, or mystery.
I tried really hard to decide whether I was supposed to like or hate his character, but I just couldn’t raise any kind of emotion either way and that’s a shame because this could be really good. It needs to be tighter and it needs to be more dynamic and then it could be really something to watch out for.
Nikos Koutsis’ art is pretty good though and reminded me of Ian Gibson’s Robo Hunter & Massimo Belardinelli’s ACE Trucking for 2000AD. There’s some really interesting design going on and some fun nods to sci-fi classics that kept me interested enough to make it to the end of the issue, I just hope that the continuing story catches up with the quality of the artwork.
Not the greatest of starts, but I’d be interested to see this as a trade paperback to see if it improves over the coming episodes, if just for Koutsis’ artwork.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek