Friday, October 28, 2011

Spaceman #1 of 9

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Eduardo Risso
Company: Vertigo Comics

Well, I'm going to just come out and say it: Brian Azzarello is on fire. With his Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance mini being the creme de la creme of the Flashpoint world and the start to the new Wonder Woman series hitting all of the right notes, you'd think that he might be stretching himself a bit too thin. Wrong. Spaceman, an urban Sci-Fi story, is just as clever and mind grabbing. Teaming up with his artistic partner Eduardo Risso is the icing on the cake.

Together they aptly tell the tale of Orson, a genetically engineered hulk of a man who, like most people, is trying to find his place in life and dreaming
about the literal stars and space that he was promised. If you know Azzarello, then you know that this isn't going to be a happy go lucky kind of story that elicits a smile and gives you candy and sends you on your way. No, it's a dark and messy and morally corrupt world that comes to life and pulsates a greasy sheen onto your mind. But in a good way.

Really, after the teaser that appeared in the anthology Strange Adventures a few months back, I would have told you that Spaceman was pretty much Blade Runner, but shown from the runaway Replicant's side of things. This first issue however paints a different picture, focusing more on the kidnapping of a socialite's daughter and how Orson fits into the affair. What makes such a traditional story come to life though is how the world around the characters is built. It's very Sci-Fi, and looks it, but Azzarello goes the extra mile and concocts a new dialect, or slang, that the characters communicate with. I can sort of see how it could get annoying, as such things have in the past (Fray, I'm looking at you!), but here it isn't distracting, it's engrossing.

Risso's style is pitch perfect for this kind of thing. He makes it his own and makes every panel slick. His creation of this dystopian society that the world has become, its shattered city-scapes and gutted buildings, is spot on. Another thing that is done so well is the character design of Orson. This man, a literal Hulk blended with a touch of Superman, makes for an interesting main character. He isn't the typical good looking, smooth talking, badass that we're used to and watching him lumber about his salvage boat and do the things that every person on the planet does it captivating. Risso is also a master of light and shadow. He can do so much with so little and because of that ability, the smallest things can become so damn awesome and memorable.

So yes, Azzarello and Risso strike gold again with Spaceman. You can tell from page one that this is going to be a tragic book, without a doubt, but you also know that it's going to be satisfying as well. If you're in the mood for something along the lines of Children of Men or something that hits that sort of tone, seek this one out. It's that good.

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