Spaceman #1 (of 9)
Written by Brian Azzarello
Pencils by Eduardo Risso
Colors by Patricia Mulvihill and Giulia Brusco
Letters by Clem Robins
Cover by Dave Johnson
Release date: October 26, 2011
Cover Price: $1.00
Brian Azzarello. Eduardo Risso. These are two comic creators whose names create instant excitement when attached to a new project, especially when they are on the same book, as they are with their new series from DC/Vertigo, which launches this week with Spaceman #1. Azzarello and Risso are the team that brought us a landmark run with their series 100 Bullets. They were also the team for possibly the best thing to come out of DC’s Flashpoint event, with their Batman: Knight of Vengeance mini-series. So, when they start a new project, it’s easy to get me and many other comics fans excited. It’s a good thing then that Spaceman is very good, because you do not want to see a bunch of fanboys get pissed off when things don’t live up to their expectations.
Spaceman takes place in an unspecified future where technology has advanced, and man has attempted to reach Mars, but life is still pretty crappy, and people are just as obsessed with the things that we currently are, namely celebrity culture. The titular Spaceman is Orson, an apparently genetically engineered man who has given up on his dreams of space and now ekes out a life collecting scrap. Orson gets tied up in a kidnapping plot and that’s pretty much where this first issue leaves us. This issue is a good introduction to the world, explaining just enough to set up everything, but leaving the reader with plenty of questions that will hopefully be revealed later. Where does Orson come from? What has happened to the planet? Azzarello does an excellent job of establishing the world and has me interested to see where the story goes from here.
We got our first glimpse of Spaceman as an 8-page short in the pages of Strange Adventure a few months back, and at the time, I was a little disappointed by it, mostly because I couldn’t get a sense of the odd speech pattern that was used in it. The odd speech continues in this issue, but there is just more time to get adjusted to it, and it didn’t bother me as much. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I don’t always like it when writers use these kinds of weird dialects to make the setting more realistic. I can understand the use of it, as it does lend a sense of authenticity to the story, but I often feel like it is more work to understand what is being said than is sometimes worth it. With Spaceman, Azzarello has created his own form of newspeak, with characters using slang that I could see being common place in the future. Once you get into the story, it gets easier to read. Just know that if you don’t like comics that use a lot of weird words that you don’t read every day, this may not be the book for you.
The standout of this issue is of course the art by Eduardo Risso. Risso is one of my favorite artists and he does not disappoint here. His art is gritty and real and goes a long way towards setting up the world this story exists in. The world feels lived in, the way good science fiction should. There is so much detail on the page that the reader is instantly transported into the world, which makes the story that much easier to follow. Credit should also go to the colorists, whose work brings the work to life in yet another way. The colors make the art leap off the page, and also work to perfectly set the mood of each scene.
Spaceman is just another in a long string of great series created by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I don’t know if it’s their best work together, but it’s still better than a lot of other titles on the stands, and this first issue sets up what should be a great series. If you like smart science fiction with some spectacular art, Spaceman is the book for you. Also, it’s just a dollar, so there’s really no excuse not to at least give it a try. I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5.