Review – The Expanse: Dragon Tooth #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Andy Diggle
Illustrations: Rubine
Colours: Raul Angulo
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Cover: Christian Ward
Release Date: 19th April 2023

Its easy to forget that pang of distress one feels when a favourite show finishes; or worse, and gets cancelled. There’s also a mild trepidation when that show returns after some time, whether in a reboot or in a continuation in a different format. Thankfully, there’s no need to worry here as the return to the Expanse universe is easy and effortless, like falling back into your favourite gravity couch.

I’ll state from the off that if you’ve never had any exposure to the this particularl universe, the story here might be less than rewarding. For fans and followers though this takes place not too long after the culmination of the television series. An uneasy alliance between the core planets of Earth and Mars continues to be strained as the solar breadbasket was decimated in conflict with Marco Inaros. The Belters have more feet under the table with a sympathetic figure sitting as President of the Union, but they too struggle with diminished resources and the pull of colonies and proverbial gold rush beyond the gate. On top of all this, the threat of the Martian defector Duarte and their fleet at Laconia. So which specific thread is being tugged here? In true homage to the original writing, that answer is “everything”… plus other stuff, too.

The core threat of this new story seems to be the rise of pirates in the belt; plundering already slim and dwindling pickings. We get time to see the crew of the Roci going above and beyond to do the right thing as always, as well as take some time to remember a fallen member of the family. Avasarala continues to be a political marvel and firm favourite with their plans within plans, and on the other side of the Sol system, we see Drummer and Bull and the struggles of the legitimate controllers of gate and travel beyond. There’s also some teasing of a potential new plot line in rejuvenating or creation of living soil to replenish and restock the larders of the system. There’s so much going on its impressive that the team managed to prevent this becoming a bit of a dense slog. Instead I felt we got enough time to get back up to speed and set the stage, and pace, for this arc.

Asides from all the writing and exposition, how does this new book look and ‘feel’? Being completely honest, a little hit and miss for me. Its not that anything was bad or where I could point out specific flaws, more a case that it didn’t quite feel right in places. Perhaps some panels were just a tad too clean and bright. The characterisations were all fine and I’m always impressed when creators can maintain a likeness throughout a book. No doubt there will be licensing hoops to jump through, but some more roughness around the edges could have improved this for me. As it is though, the book looks good and it would be hard to find fault.

Its hard to remain objective as such a fan of the Expanse. but I for one will be keen to have the opportunity to venture once more out into the black. For all those lukewarm on the setting? Perhaps not so much.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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