Spaceman #1-9 (2011-12)

“So now what?”

“We wait, we web-cast pictures of what appear to be Tara and her kidnappers, from a anom source.”

“Huh? But webee staff on the show …”

‘Jesus, Bob … it’s called drama …”

Spaceman #1 cover

This is a recently finished nine issue mini series from Vertigo. The creative team is no stranger to Vertigo being Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso who have collaborated before on Jonny Double, 100 Bullets and a Batman story in the Wednesday Comics anthology title for DC.

The story is set in a post-climate change world where the water levels have risen to submerge part of an unnamed city. The affluent live in a segregated part of the city known as the Dries while every one else slum it in the Rise. Orson is a genetically modified human, standing 7 to 8 feet tall with monkey-like features, who was created, along with others, to travel to Mars but the programme was shut down due to public outrage when he was still young. He makes a living salvaging stuff from the Rise but his life is turned upside down when he runs into a crew of kidnappers who have kidnapped a young girl from the family of a reality TV show, The Ark.

Interwoven with this story is another concerning four of the genetically altered spacemen on a mission to terraform Mars. Their motivations change when a meteorite veined with gold crashes near their base and disagreements on what to do lead to suspicion and suspected murder.

I have loved the work of Azzarello and Risso in the past – especially the fabulous artwork of Eduardo Risso.(a lot of which you can buy from his web site). And this story was enjoyable too but I was confused as to how the two very different stories connected together. It is suggested in the Earth bound one that the Mars missions never took place and the situation of another of the spacemen, Carter, would suggest that the Mars mission did not take place after the story on Earth. But they are obviously connected in some way – whether the whole of the Earth story is an immersive TV show of some kind or the Mars one a hallucination – some of the sequences are triggered by Orson taking a drug – or something else I just can’t decide. For me the Earth story was more interesting and losing the Mars one to add more detail into that world would have made for a more satisfying book.

Home from Home

This is my first post in the brand new home of the RevolutionSF blogs. It’s great that the blogs have finally caught up with the 21st century and hopefully posts will be easier to produce and maintain.

I am currently re-reading the recently finished Spaceman series from Vertigo by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. So that will be the next comic to reviewed here by the end of the week, hopefully.

In the meantime, I am being dragged slowly into the 21st century myself. Although a still buy a fair amount of CDs, I have mainly been accessing music digitally in the last few years via a couple of subscription and streaming services. Now I think the time has come to think seriously about how I access print material in the future.

I have just about filled, and overfilled, every available space that my understanding wife will allow with comics, graphic novels and books. So I am seriously thinking about moving to a digital platform in the very near future. Comixology always have great offers and this week I was finally tempted to lay down some cash for an omnibus edition of Project Superpowers – 21 issues for $16.99 was too good a deal to resist.

I had a look at the first issue on my Android phone for free and while the experience was not too bad (it was good enough for me to take the plunge in the first place and I have recently upgraded my phone and it has a 4.7″ high resolution display) I think for prolonged reading I will want to buy a tablet so that I can see full pages more comfortably.

There are a lot of circumstances coming together that make now the right time for me. The foremost of these is the imminent release of the Kindle Fire in the UK and the rumoured release of a mini-iPad. One of these may well be my preferred option but if I am not satisfied with either then I will probably go for a full iPad. We’ll see what the future brings.

Jonny Double (2002)

 

Quote:
“You kids’re talkin’ about robbing a bank!”

“No, we’re talkin’ about goin’ to get a dead guy’s money.”

 

This book collects the four issue mini-series that was the first collaboration between writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso. This was the start of a successful partnership that has since produced 100 Bullets, the current Spaceman and some Batman stories.

Jonny Double is an ex-cop turned private investigator whose latest client has just turned up dead. The down on his luck Jonny is then hired by a mysterious Mr. Hart to find out what crowd his daughter, Faith, is running with and to keep her out of trouble. Everything seems fine until he is persuaded to impersonate the son of Al Brown (AKA Al Capone) to close out his daddy’s inactive bank account. However, the account is not as inactive as the Faith’s crew think and instead of scoring $300,000 they lift $7 million. Jonny’s world goes downhill fast as the kids start turning up dead and Jonny has to protect Faith from a legendary hit man.

This is an excellent book from Azzarello and Risso. A modern day noir crime caper with all the elements one might expect including a dumb PI falling for deadly femme fatale. Some of the parts of the story might be a bit too clich├ęd but the quality of the writing and art is such that you drawn along into the twisted narrative completely. There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing throughout the story and the ending neatly wraps up all the threads from Jonny’s past and present. The only thing that slightly jarred for me was Jonny’s speech patterns which were infused with 60s beatnik/hipster figures of speech. But otherwise this fabulous book should appeal to fans of 100 Bullets if they haven’t read it already.

Spaceman #1 (December 2011)

 

Quote:
Ain’t no future. My life didn’t come true.

 

From the creative team of Brain Azzarello and Eduardo Risso, who brought us 100 Bullets, comes this new 9 issue sci-fi tale. This series is also published by Vertigo and though they have featured sci-fi stories before they don’t tend to drift too far from fantasy and supernatural tales.

We find the main character, Orson, in two very different circumstances. First he is an astronaut on a Mars base heading out in a storm to fix a problem in one of the greenhouses. In the second, he is living in a post-apocalyptic Earth having been modified for the Mars mission but not going on it. There is no clue as to how these two realities tie up. There are background details that have echoes in each of the realities so one could be the fever dream of the other – in the Mars reality Orson cracks his helmet visor on the way to the greenhouse possibly inhaling something in the atmosphere of Mars and in the Earth one he is taking a recreational drug that could be inducing visions.

Being the first issue not much is given away but it is intriguing enough, and I like 100 Bullets enough, to trust in the storytelling and continue with the series and see where it takes me. I love the art by Risso – he has to be one of my favourite artists just now.