I was beside myself with excitement when I learned that the entirety of the 100 Bullets team would be working on a sci-fi book, even if I had no idea what to expect from it. As a genre, science fiction is as far removed from crime as you can get and I was curious as to what the scale, subject and tone of Azzarello’s story would be.
As it turns out, Azzarello plays to his strengths with Spaceman and the first issue of the title presents a promising start to the series.
The story’s eponymous Spaceman is called Orson, a large person created in a lab for the purpose of space exploration. He’s our main character and the inherent wonder behind this gentle giant’s raison d’etre sits in sharp contrast to his current, mundane lifestyle where he collects scrap metal from the ocean for a living. Things have clearly gone wrong and Orson’s past is explored briefly via flashbacks and appears to be one of the story’s biggest hooks. The abduction of a celebrity child, who could potentially have ties to Orson, rounds off the plot and leaves you with enough questions and intrigue to make you want to keep on reading.
Azzarello does some world building here as well and we’re shown glimpses of where the sex and drug industry have moved to in this future. Needless to say, this is more Blade Runner than Star Trek and it’s a story that’s very much in the vein of Azzarello’s previous works. Even the dialogue gets a facelift with a slightly compressed and simplified dialect that brings 1984′s newspeak to mind. ”Haha” is replaced by “lol” for example and it’s definitely a book where you have to read and mentally enunciate the words to understand it instead of just translating symbols into meanings as I usually do. I admit I was a little confused by the dialogue at first but a second read brought the whole thing together and it’s really adds a lot to the story.
Eduardo Risso does the art and, well, what can I say about him that hasn’t been said a million times before? He has absolutely flawless storytelling and his use of blacks and shadows is arguably second to none. His lines, along with Trish Mulhivill’s perfectly tempered colors, result in a truly beautiful looking book that perfectly enhances the story.
I always maintain that good science fiction uses robots and the extraterrestrial as metaphors to explore morality and the human condition. Azzarello has been known to do pretty much the exact same thing in his comic work so, in hindsight, it isn’t really that surprising that he would tackle a science fiction story. It’s a great beginning and, after reading 100 issues of 100 Bullets for nearly 10 years, the fact that in only 9 issues you can get a clear beginning, middle and end is almost a relief to me. My only question at this point is whether Azzarello will truly explore the science fiction aspect of this book or it’ll simply become a different dressing for another crime story.
Either way, with a price of $1, how could you not give it a try?
And, on a side note, is it wrong that I first bought this comic on comiXology but I still downloaded it off the torrents because it was such a hassle to read the version I paid for? An open format would be so much more convenient and a right step in the fight against piracy.Posted on October 28, 2011 in Comics, Reviews |