One of the pleasant surprises I’ve gotten since I started reviewing lots of comics again is the high quality of science fiction I’ve been seeing. “Spaceman”, “Prophet” and “RASL” would all be at home in the next issue of Interzone. These are well fleshed out books with people who know the genre.
It also looks like Vertigo wants to strengthen its bench by developing some talent that I hadn’t seen before. Or at least that’s what I thought was the premise of “Mystery in Space”, a science fiction anthology which features some veterans like writer Ann Nocenti and legendary artists like Michael Kaluta and Mike Allred. But its the new talent, or at least talent that I hadn’t heard of, that impressed me the most. There are nine stories and there isn’t a really badly constructed story in the bunch. They all make sense and they all touch upon some ideas that I hadn’t seen before or old respectable science fiction patterns well executed.
There are three stories and teams, assuming that this was a tryout of sorts, that I really would like to see more of.
First is the outstanding science fiction story called “The Elgort” by writer Nnedi Okorafor, a well regarded and award winning print writer. It’s also illustrated by the legendary Michael Wm. Kaluta who apparently has a knack for working with very talented science writers who happen to be women. Here’s just a page and its beautiful:
I think the story involves a space anthropoligist who oversees an alien world. Its not certain whether this is another planet or Earth with a lot of genetically engineered plants and animals. It does feature beautiful good looking African American characters that you’re not ashamed of. It also gave me a background for a story that I would like to know more of. More stories by Nnedi, please.
The other breakthrough story for me would have “Here Nor There” by Ann Nocenti, even though she’s an old pro.
Just take a look at the fantastic art by Fred Harper. I thought I was looking at early Corben.
It actually reminded me of the old Bruce Jones/Richard Corben pieces that were done for Warren in the 70s and 80s. Warren comics were kind of a grittier less fanciful but definitely better written kind of Heavy Metal, which they did compete with for awhile with “1984”. How could you not like a science fiction story that features a cat named “Schrodinger”? More of this as well, please. How about an adaptation of Paul Di Filippo’s “Ribofunk”? I know if I keep saying that it will happen….
The third story that I thought was outstanding was “Contact High” by Robert Rodi and Sebastian Fiumara. It features the only space opera adventure story with three gay leads. It would not be unlike Bones, Spock and Kirk sleeping together. But its also a fantastically written and drawn story. Just for the record, all of the stories were winners. I felt like I had to remark upon the really good ones. The Mike Allred story was decent too but I don’t think he’s looking for work. It’s a little pricey but its very very good. 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Green Arrow’s Ann Nocenti On Why Being Happy Isn’t Always Good [Interviews](geek-news.mtv.com)
- Mike Allred Jumps onto DAREDEVIL in August(comicvine.com)
- Clockwork Reviews: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor(nevermetpress.com)