Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pick of the Week - March 28, 2012 - Spaceman #5

Spaceman #5
Story: Brian Azzarello
Pencils: Eduardo Risso
Colors: Patricia Mulvihill

In a week that saw the beginning of one of Marvel’s latest shameless cash grabs events with Avengers vs X-Men #0, it’s a dark, quirky trip into a fickle, frenzied future that gets my Pick of the Week.

Full disclosure: All I had to do was hear the names Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso mentioned in the same sentence and I was in the driver’s seat of the bandwagon for this comic. Their acclaimed series 100 Bullets is what got me back into comics.

While Spaceman and 100 Bullets are light years apart (see what I did there?) they’re equally as enjoyable.

For those unfamiliar, I’ll do my best to sum up the basic plot: It’s sometime in the not too distant future. Our lovable protagonist, Orson, is a NASA-engineered “spaceman” living in a world in which ocean levels have risen and skyscrapers stick out of the water like monuments to a world gone by. One night while out in his boat, Orson gets caught in the middle of a good old-fashioned kidnapping gone wrong. The “kidnapee” is the star of a bizarre reality show in which orphans compete to be adopted by a Brangelina-esque celebrity couple. We come to learn (and are still learning) that there’s a web of conflicting motives at play here.

Whew. Still with me?

The world Azzarello and Risso have created in Spaceman is so unique, it’s only natural that it comes with its own language. The way people speak is a mixture of Internet-style shorthand and street slang. It felt a little clunky the first couple of issues, but now that I’m accustomed to it I revel in my grasp of this not-so-foreign tongue.

So much of the way we think about the world is based on the words we use to describe it. The unique language in Spaceman is a misshapen building block for the off-kilter mood of the story.

Risso’s simplistic art is flawless. His use of shadows and the color black complement the foreboding tone of the story. It makes you feel like there’s something bad hiding around every corner (which for Orson, there has been).

I love comics that you have to read twice to make sure you got everything, comics that make you think. Spaceman is one of those.  

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