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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tales From Orbit 3. Editor Kim Roberts. WP Comics (2016)

Another deeply satisfying science anthology from Tales from Orbit, the continued high level of diversity and quality is rapidly becoming the signature of this book. Making strongly flavoured diversity into a subtly harmonious whole is a considerable feat which this book make look easy.
With the great cover by Gabe Ostley setting the scene the stories between the covers include the following,
Outpost Pluto. James Johmson (Writer & Artist). Rescue missions are a science fiction staple for really good reasons, they offer multiple story possibilities. In this playful story James Johnson sets up a story and then neatly switches the outcome. The friendly art and colouring pull the reader into the sharp conclusion.
The Lovers. Julio Paz (Writer), Cristian Navarro (Art), Nikki Sherman (Letters). Wonderfully unexpected, thoughtful and unsentimental, this is an alien abduction story that follows a different path to an satisfying conclusion. Cristian Navarro's subtle, telling black and white art is intimate and comsic as required. It captures and amplifies the story ideas and nuances with precise care. Nikki Sherman's letters are natural and unobtrusive, they quietly provide information without ever drawing attention to themselves, a subtle skill.
System Crash. Martin John (Writer), Bryan Randall (Art) Nikki Sherman (Letters), is a thing of beauty, a strong story with mouth watering art and graceful colouring. A space ship suffers impact damage that proves to be considerably more than anticipated.The crew find themselves under attack and need to respond. The extraordinary art and panel design by Bryan Randall capture all the story elements and draw them out to the full. The cast are a mix of human and cyborg, graceful cyborgs it should be said, and the context is detailed and physically strong. The colouring is a delight, it is used to enhance the details and the depth of the art, drawing out the details of the cast and context and giving the story a extra emotional impact.
The Adventures of Galaxy Girl in Outer Space: Refueling Andrew Tayor (Writer), Gabe Ostley (Art) is a compressed space opera that has everything it should have all tilted at a angle to make it sharply funny. Landing her ship to refuel leads to trouble for Norman. The story is blackly, sharply funny, using the genre staples with wicked effectiveness. Gabe Ostley's art and vivid colours combine to give both the bold outlines and action of space opera and makes it all happily off-kilter, both fitting seamlessly together.
Misery Loves Company, Andrew Clark (Writer), Joe Deagnon (Art) is bleak and gripping, a deeply unsettling tale of revenge. A woman who wishes to become someone else does so, the results are not what she had hoped for. A very powerful idea that is superbly realised in a compressed space.  Joe Deagnon's art conceals and reveals the dark heart of the story, the expressive intensity of the cast capture the rage and horror of the story.
Rob and Stew Escape from Slave Camp 9. Jack wallace , Andy Thurman (Writers), Juan Fleites (Art & Letters), Chris Allen (Colours). After the robot up[rising Rob and Stew find themselves enslaved and performing for robot audiences. They seek to escape to a human camp they have heard of and are assisted by a robot Fred Flintstone, who tells them the true history of the park and the uprising. A very sharp an funny story, told with vigor and relish that really makes the most of the story ideas and possibilities. Juan Fleites art gives the human cast and the robots clear expressive personalities, making the action scences powerful and the quiet moments credible. Chris Allens colours are strong and vivid, they give the context the strangeness and slightly cartoony feel it requires .
Tales from Orbit is everything an anthology should be, it is wide ranging and engaging, showcasing the extraordinary diversity of science fiction from hugely talented creators.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kinfly sent by Kim Roberts. To purcgaser a copy of Tales from Orbit 3 which would be a really good ideas as excellent science fiction comics are a great way to celebrate the closing of the year, it can be purchase from

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