Saturday, 29 October 2011

New Beginnings Extra - Spaceman #1

I’ve never really read any comics on the Vertigo label. Not because I don’t like them or think they’re bad, but because I’ve not really taken the time to get to know them. I have enjoyed some of the film adaptations such as Constantine and The Losers but I am aware that the Hollywood influence will have distorted them a little to make them more media friendly. So getting to take a look at the new nine part title Spaceman was a very interesting experience.

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have worked together to produce the title. Both are well respected and I’m sure most readers may have come across their work knowingly or otherwise. Readers of Vertigo titles will possibly know of their run on 100 Bullets in 2001 where they won the Eisner Award for best serialised story. They recently produced the excellent Flashpoint miniseries, Batman: Knight Of Vengeance.

Spaceman is set at some point in the future with an almost bleak outlook. Man has reached even further out into the stars while at the same time not being able to prevent the world declining. The decline is in every respect as well, economically, ecologically and socially. There is a distinct Blade Runner feel to it, but without the overcrowding or technological impact, but with the exception of genetically engineered beings such as Orson.

The story follows Orson and his new life back on Earth after the Mars mission. Life is hard, especially for someone with a simian appearance and also a lower intellect than others around him. But life continues all the same. Some of the language can be a little confusing at first but it’s consistent meaning you can establish a base and get into it and become more involved in the story. The issue is very much about establishing the world around Orson. Meanwhile there is also a back story running about a kidnapping. Whilst this does become an integral part of the story, in the build up I really liked the poke at celebrity society and reality TV that it makes. You can’t help but feel that very quickly Orson is going to be thrust into the limelight with interesting consequences.

The feel of the comic is further helped by the artwork and colouring. The linework is incredibly fine and there is a lot of detail but without cluttering up the frames either. It makes it a very light and easy read. Each page is also washed with colour too which enhances the feeling of them. Combined together I think Risso’s work really enhances the story.

To mark the new beginning Vertigo have made this title just $1.00 for the first issue. It’s a good way to entice readers as I would also be tempted simply by this fact alone if I was looking for something new and for £1.00 (in Proud lion) you’re not really going wrong at all.

I can see this will get the interest of some readers too, but it needs to develop more and give more of a direction in the story as it is very open and could lead to anything.

Matt Puddy managed to avoid all references to Babylon Zoo...

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