At Nothing But Comics, we love Star Wars! So in anticipation of this week’s debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we contacted some of our favorite comics creators to ask them about their favorite Star Wars characters…
by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson
I try to be understanding when artists try to transition into writing. I imagine it’s challenging and risky for the creator to put their name on such a thing, not counting all the competition from other creators. With Ei8ht, Albuquerque has a decent debut issue but time will tell if it impresses readers with its story.
The plot itself is pretty straightforward, a man called Joshua (no relation) awakens inside a crashed ship in the desert with memory loss. Flashbacks to the past (which is technically the future) explain how and some of the why, he volunteered to do this mission in return for seeing his sweetheart again. He meets some suspicious locals, convinced he is a spy by their enemy, one of whom is Spear who Joshua was sent into the past to find.
The art I found more interesting than the story, which shouldn’t surprise American Vampire fans. Albuquerque kept the color palette restrained to red, blue, and orange. The daytime sky is orange, the blue is the rest of the environment including the characters, and red is used sparingly. It’s an interesting visual choice to limit the palette to three colors, even more so in which two warm colors with a cool color dominates. The characters and environments never appear murky and almost looks like Albuquerque used an ink-wash technique for shading. Since the red is used sparingly it never takes the most attention from the reader and only accentuates things like word-bubbles or character’s expressions. He also maintains his stylistic detail and the visceral action we’ve come to expect.
Mike Johnson’s role seems to have been laying out Rafael’s story in a script and I would say its a fair job. There are not alot of surprising elements with the actual story: a man using time travel to save his love has been done in Looper, Deja Vu, The Butterfly Effect, Superman, even the movie adaptation of HG Wells’ The Time Machine. Since the locals call the location Joshua ends up in The Meld and there are dinosaurs running around, I’m led to assume this is either an alternate time-line’s past or some pocket of the Space-Time Continuum. Again, this is something I’m seeing in the current arc of DC’s The Flash as well as Land of the Lost. The fact that we never see the woman Joshua is doing this for doesn’t allow for much emotional connection, all we see is that Joshua is doing something possibly suicidal to see her again and that he bought her roses at an earlier time. The flashbacks allow for explanation of the events but if more information were offered we could see what kind of man Joshua is or why he was chosen for this mission. First issues are hurdles for series to overcome in introducing new stories to readers and grabbing their interest in the next chapter, however many books do this every month. East of West by Johnathan Hickman for instance had a superb first issue with characters to latch onto and hints at a larger plot. Here we have a main character who we’re told to root for so he can see a woman we haven’t seen, to do something in the past that will be revealed later. The inclusion of dinosaurs don’t make up for the shaky motivations of the protagonist. If I didn’t know better I would’ve thought this was a sneak peek at Mark Millar’s Chrononauts instead of an original time travel story.
Overall its a decent comic that uses some time-travel troupes without adding much innovation. If you’re someone who enjoys the art in a comic more than the story, I would recommend this. Otherwise, save your money for Millar’s and Sean Murphy’s Chrononauts.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent
The 2009 Star Trek film’s reboot of Star Trek continuity gave storytellers the opportunity to explore the franchise’s characters and history with a clean, fresh slate. Comics publisher IDW has taken advantage of this opportunity to present the new adventures of beloved characters on the comics page. Star Trek #35 does something surprising, using a character from the old continuity (the seemingly omnipotent alien known as “Q”, played in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series by actor John de Lancie) to disrupt the status quo of the new continuity.
The first chapter of “The Q Gambit” is a delight; writer Mike Johnson has a gift for dialogue, and the conversations between Q, Captain Kirk, and Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard ring true for those characters. Johnson’s script is intriguing, with Q hinting to Picard that the new timeline created by the future Mr. Spock may have set in motion a series of events that will ultimately doom it. Q appears to Kirk in the new timeline and promises to test Kirk’s belief that “there is no such thing as a no-win scenario” before sending the Enterprise through time and space to a location that should be exciting to Star Trek fans. Artist Tony Shasteen neatly captures the likenesses of all the characters, and the artist’s depiction of Q’s manipulations of time and space are exciting and entertaining.
Star Trek #35 is accessible to new readers, but longtime Star Trek fans are more likely to appreciate the characters and plot of this comic. This issue was a great beginning to a story arc that promises to blend the old with the new in an intriguing fashion.