Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Corinna Bechko
Artwork: Alejandro Aragon
Colours: Francesco Segala
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: 16th December 2020
Based on the works of James S.A. Corey, this new limited run brought to us by BOOM! Studios takes place between the fourth and just released fifth season of the popular TV show. The Expanse universe, in my mind, delivers some of the best sci-fi in both written and visual media we’ve had in years. Falling into the more ‘hard’ end of the sci-fi spectrum, there’s a strong focus on character development and interpersonal relationships. What we have here is far from an easy jumping-on point, but it’s shaping up to be an enjoyable, self-contained side story with some wider implications.
Instead of focussing on the crew of the Rocinante and what could be considered the ‘primary’ protagonists, here we get more of the strong but recently humbled Avasarala and the disenfranchised Draper. Series writer Corinna Bechko has a hard task to maintain the quality I’ve come to expect from the series, but manages to deliver not only intriguing plot threads, but also capture the voice of the characters; and the actors behind them, for that matter. We have a combination of immediate threat, grander concerns and the insidious, clawing underworld movers which all work to highlight just how complex and lived-in this world feels.
Alejandro Aragon and Francesco Segala work well together on the artwork. Although some of the panels can seem a tad samey, especially with some of the lengthy conversations, the overall effect is positive. The characterisation captures the likeness of the actors as we know them without struggling with recreating photo realistic quality. Little tics and nods show some reverence to the subject matter, and long-time fans will no doubt approve.
For me, the action scenes towards the end of the issue are where the art really cranks up a notch. Combat and firefights are gritty and dangerous, and we are up close and personal when the bullets start flying. The choice of angles and points of view really serve to maximise and explore the space, bringing a sense of dynamism as opposed to sedentary corridor shoot outs.
In some respects I wish I had re-watched the last series of The Expanse before heading into this as it took me a little while to fully get into the swing of things. It’s a faithful recreation of the setting, and as a short run, it’s going to be something that viewers or readers, established and new, will want to consider adding to their pull list.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster