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Friday, September 16, 2016

Tales from Orbit. Kim Roberts (Snr. Editor) WP Comics (2016)

A very engaging and entertaining, big-tent, science fiction and fantasy anthology. The two genres can easily make for an uneven mix, in Tales from Orbit all the stories comfortably sit with each other, the diversity is a strength rather than diluting the impact.
Astral Crusaders. Paul Bradford (Writer),  William Alan Reyes (Art), Erik Korsgaard (Colours and Letters)  is a sharp story about a military patrol that does not go as planned. The story is artfully compressed, the set up action and conclusion are presented with crisp economy. The art is very bold, the cast are huge and heavily armored, never seem ridiculous and they move through their context with forceful physical presence. The variations in panel sizes and placement allows for the action to be explosive, intimate and fast all on the same page. The colouring is incredible, it is vividly intense, it turbo charges the story and gives it pulls up all the heightened emotional tones that surround the story with force.
Convention of the Gods. Jack Wallace (Writer), Gabe Ostley (Art), Chris Allen (Colours & Letters). A smart and funny idea that neatly plays with readers expectations. Gabe Astley's art is vivid and ultra expressive, it is expresses exactly the right tone for the story, it balance exaggeration and subtlety with tremendous care and detail. The colouring is a a pleasure, strong and vivid it draws out the story and the art to complete a lovely, effective comic.
Equal. M.C.Carper (Writer and Art) is short, quick to the point and a funny story. A demonstration by robots leads to trouble. The execution is everything and it works. The momentum of the story is strongly backed by vivid colouring and clear lettering, the pay off is pitched perfectly.
Night Sky. Daniel Horowitz (Writer), Estrela Lourenco (Art) is extraordinary, a huge idea that should required an enormous canvas is delivered with a shattering emotional impact in the simplest fashion. A night time picnic that has a wider meaning, it captures a terrible moment with a range of emotions that simply ring true at every stage. Estrela Lourenco's art captures the tone and intent of the story with beauty and grace, an astonishingly difficult balance has been created in the story. Outstanding.
Captain Yeah in Dark Vibes. Andrew Pawley (Writer and Art), a joyful and extraordinary blast of psychedelia , the art explodes off the page in a riot of colours and tones. The simple story gives the art the room to make an impact and the story gives sufficient structure and backbone to the art for the entire package to be a success.
Star K'rrot. Tiago Cruz (Writer), Ines Garcia (Art) features the most unlikely and hilarious alien invasion of earth and shows that troubles can come from the most unexpected quarters. When an alien ship visits Earth in search of an much needed energy source the story moves consistently in unexpected and very funny direction and the conclusion is everything it should be. The glorious black and white art by Ines Garcia misses nothing, all the details are present and the conflict between the invaders and the inhabitants are presented with just the right mix of perspective to ensure that insult is added to injury with precision.
Telescope. James Johnson (Writer and Art) is a perfectly executed comic from the 1970's, it has the story line, colours and general tenor of the freewheeling storytelling for the underground comix that just were having fun with comics. That it reaches back so far , so effortlessly is a tribute to the depth of talent on display, it is fresh, funny and just spot on, it works because there really are no rules for talent.
This is a great collection of comics, a tremendous diversity of styles and stories that manage to be a harmonious whole and very satisfying reading experience. Anthologies can be tricky to manage, Tales from Orbit makes it look easy.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent to by Kim Roberts. To buy a copy of Tales from Orbit, you should to prove beyond any doubt that the cure for bad comics are good comics like this one, you can purchase it from here

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