Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Comic Reviews: Higher Earth & Cold Space



Higher Earth

    I do dig science fiction; the crazier the concept, the better.  This story of a multiverse of Earths falling before an ultra-powerful empire has some real potential.  My immediate concern: is there a plan?  This is a story that should have a good beginning middle and end, not some wandering, never ending story that peters out after a year or two.  And I don’t know if the writers have that kind of plan.  I hope they do.  20, 40, 60 issues, and it should end.  Or at least end a major story arc.  Who knows?  Maybe they’ll pull a DC with the Court of Owls, which seemed like it would be a 30 or 40 issue story and was wrapped up in like 12.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.


    I can’t talk too much about the concept without giving away some things I wouldn’t want to ruin.  But the general idea is that instead of exploring the stars, humanity explored multi-dimensional travel, finding various Earths, some similar, some very different.  Brief stops on an over-crowded ‘sun world’ and on a dinosaur infested Earth where no extinction event happened show some of the range one might expect.  Ultra-tech, extreme oppression, conflict, and crazy twists fill the pages.


    The art isn’t amazing, but it gets the job done.  Some of the environments are pretty cool.  The script is fine, but again, not amazing.  Basically, this is all about the concept, which is very cool.  And neither the art of the writing ruins anything, even if they don't make it sing.  Reading so many special editions does make me wish there were some kind of introduction.  I wish more creators would comment on their work, even if it were just about inspirations and ideas.


Higher Earth Volume 1
Author: Sam Humphries
Artists: Francesco and Manuel Bracchi, and Joe Eisma
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-290-0



Cold Space

    Obviously, any book written by an actor is somewhat suspect.  These vanity piece comics are generally not very good, banking on the actors name selling enough issues to make a buck without worrying about making memorable art.  At least Sam Jackson is a real comic fan, and kind of a crazy bastard.  So, that works in the books favor.


    The story certainly owes a lot to the classic formula of Red Harvest (filmed countless times, but most famously as Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars).  Frankly, it’s a story I could see adapted a few less times.  Still, it’s fun enough.  And there are a few fun variations.  Plus, I’m a sucker for science fiction, even if it’s just the trappings.  This is very much a Western, but with a few rayguns and the like thrown in.


    The recap at the beginning of issue/chapter 4 gave me a solid chuckle.  And generally, the final chapter is the best.  It breaks out of the story mold, twists a few extra times and has some fun.  Overall, it’s a pretty OK book.  Nothing amazing, but entertaining enough to pass the time.  If they did more, I’d probably read it.  (And unlike Higher Earth, it has an intro by Jackson.  The man loves comics.).


Cold Space
Authors: Samuel L. Jackson and Eric Calderon
Artist: Jeremy Rock
Publisher: Boom! Studios
ISBN: 978-1-60886-021-0

-Matt

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