Pencils by Chris Sprouse
Inks by Karl Story
Published by Wildstorm
United Nations Weapons Inspector Nathan Storm expects his next mission–a visit to Cold Harbor, a research space station orbiting the Jovian moon Europa–to be dangerous. What he doesn’t expect is an attack before he can even get there. It seems there’s competition for the ancient artifacts discovered by Harbor’s staff: the DOORS super-conglomerate has decided to wrest control of the find…and if winning means killing everyone in their path? So be it.
–into to Ocean
When I read “Ocean” I felt like I wasn’t reading a comic but the latest High Concept film from the likes of a James Cameron or Ridley Scott. I really felt like I was engaged with an A-list science fiction screenplay. It also delved most importantly into what space travel combined with, let’s face it, fascistic corporate control would look like in about 100 years. It reminded me of a very disturbing novel by science fiction writer John Barnes called “Orbital Resonance“, where The Company that’s running things does appear to actually own your soul.
I mean, not that its entirely Hellish. This is actually a fairly optimistic portrait of Earth, especially for Warren “It’s never too dark for me” Ellis. It seems like we beat back nuclear war and even global warming although its not clear how. I grow almost weary just detailing all the cool sfnal ideas in this graphic novel. There’s a cool and very powerful gravitational space drive that’s been developed. They finally seem to be at the edge of viable zero point energy 100 years from now. There’s a nice explanation of why you would want to explore the oceans of Europa. There are flying saucers made of diamonds. There might even be workable teleportation, or at least teleportation that has been developed by the aliens buried deep in the Europa oceans. There’s a theory outlined in this graphic novel, one that I believe in, that the asteroid belt between Mars and Earth used to be a planet and that it was a planet that didn’t die a natural death.
Still the most terrifying aspects would have to be the corporate control that the “Doors” corporation has over it workers. You know how in some corporate cultures how you just can’t say or suggest certain things? Well, here in the future you really can’t say or do certain things because you’ve been reprogrammed. I guess the programming ends once the job ends and then you can go back to being yourself but we’re really not sure. However, management has to do something “special”. We’ll let he manager bad guy describe his pain. He reminds me of Agent Smith of the Matrix pleading to Morpheus about how he “has to get out”.
Every other page is chockful of meaningful intelligent dialogue and plotting. Sometimes Warren gets a little thin with his stories. This is a buffet full of second and third helpings. It really could be a science fiction novel. It’s that involved. The art by Chris Sprouse an Karl Story is also outstanding. Also: I liked the black lead character. I could see a Denzel or a Samuel Jackson in the lead role easily.
Just one minor complaint: when the lead character in your movie/comic says “I hate guns” rest assured he’ll be using guns before its over and he’ll probably be a badass while doing that. But overall 4.9 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to make comics better than this.