Oh boy oh boy, I have been looking forward the launch of this BOOM! Studios series ever since it was first announced. Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo working on the same book in the sci-fi genre is just too sweet for my wallet to say no to.
Ewing is perhaps best known for his work on Marvel’s Immortal Hulk, one of the only two modern Marvel books I have enjoyed, and Simone Di Meo’s work on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series is hard to ignore with such talent on display with every issue. So I’ve been ready to read this for months, even treating myself to multiple variants and signed editions, but will this opening issue keep my hype alive or stop it in its tracks?
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Al Ewing
Artwork: Simone Di Meo with colour assistance by Mariasara Miotti
Lettering: AndWorld Design
Release Date: 2nd September 2020
So let’s start off with one of my major gripes about the comic industry as a whole. It seems like almost every launch is now hitting the readers/collectors with way too many variant covers. Every launch of almost every issue is exceeding the ‘standard and one’ basic variant format I’ve come expect over the years.
Now I realise I’m leaving myself open to being called a hypocrite because I have actually ordered the 1000 only Kael Nhu variant, the Forbidden Planet exclusive Al Ewing signed edition and the standard variant. But like I said before, I may have gone all-in on this book, but I simply couldn’t resist, and with artists like Jenny Frison, Sajad Shah and the recent rising star Peach Momoko contributing their talents this book has potentially the most talent on a single launch title. In early, August BOOM! Studios announced that this launch is their biggest creator launched title to date with 750,000 orders before final cut-off date. So a huge congratulations to everyone on the team.
The story starts with an introduction to Captain Malik and the crew of a god-harvesting vessel called the Vihaan II. Yeah, you heard me. This future is sustained by the harvesting and selling of the corpses of giant, now deceased gods. Stripping their flesh for a promise of coin. In a star system where everyone is fighting for literal scraps, Captain Malik wants to go where no man has gone before and be the first to locate a living god. Malik is determined to be the first mortal to stand in the presence of the gods, but the journey may cost him and his crew their lives. Needless to say, the premise of this one hits very strong.
The first thing to grab you about the story is its very much classic space with a pseudo horror vibe. All we know of space in issue one is that it’s endless, it’s scary, there are many competitive rogues. Oh, and just one more little thing… THERE ARE DEAD FLOATING GODS! What on Earth (or not on Earth as the case may be) could be killing gods? Setting up from the title such a great mystery is a sure fire way to keep my attention.
It also doesn’t hurt that every single page is spread with beautiful colour contrasts and harmonies. Panels showing both the never-ending void of space but also its very natural or artificial beauty. You could enjoy this book without reading it, but you would miss out sorely.
The dynamics of the crew are very much reminiscent of old school Star Trek with just a twist of Guardians of the Galaxy or Star Wars thrown in. The crew is a well-oiled machine with crisp, professional, Star Trek-esque dialogue flowing between them throughout their mission. This is harmonised with each of the crew members having distinct personalities and quirks that are reminiscent of more rag-tag crews. The joy of having tropes of both styles allows for a lot of freedom in Al’s writing as well as providing Di Meo with a lot creativity in terms of the characters’ physical designs.
So this new comic book day, I honestly can’t recommend this one highly enough. For the collectors, the art appreciators, the story enthusiasts and the causal readers, this book is guaranteed to start the path for an epic adventure. This book feels like the pinnacle of BOOM! Studios’ outings and it must be celebrated appropriately. A huge win for creator-owned content and an even bigger win for readers.
The writer of this piece was: Mike Chandler
Mike Tweets from @mike_moans