“Spaceman” is a difficult comic to quantify because it feels like so many things. The problem is each of these aspects feels like it could be the heart of the tale. Working out if it’s pulp or sci-fi or dystopian commentary could either confuse the reader or elevate the material; it’s a gamble. The melding of these genre tropes works well and the overall book is certainly more than the sum of its parts. You just need to work out if the new flavor is a recipe you want to store or ignore.
The debut issue built up a strange new character in our eponymous Spaceman. We came to understand his abilities and his peculiar speech patterns. The conclusion dropped him into a pickle of a situation. This issue progresses that situation while still giving us more understanding of this world. You can’t skim read this book because you need to concentrate on every word dropped and how it fits into the linguistic structure. It’s not a chore but it does keep you on your toes. This isn’t a world you are supposed to feel comfortable in. The words should throw you off and the extra time you then spend in panels will further expand the differences of this foreign landscape.
Brian Azzarello scripts this issue neatly. He segues from action to plenty of conversation and through multiple concepts. The main plot deals with the kidnapping of a young celebrity, yet Azzarello easily drops in more back story for our lead while conveniently showing us the past of the world. A side plot mirrors current actions and is pure characterization. The excellent moments come where Azzarello hints at links built between characters that build empathy and connection.
The art in this book is so brilliantly delivered you feel you could enjoy this without any of the words. You can see the flow of story on the page and enjoy the spectacle and nuance of the colors and composition. Eduardo Risso is just as adept at handling the complexities of conversation as he is a little girl holding a gun with malice or a man’s head being eviscerated by whirling propellers. The covers from Dave Johnson are also spectacularly gorgeous and encapsulate the tone and direction of the themes of the book.
While only two issues in, “Spaceman” is already showing its true nature as a beast unlike anything else. The writing is crisp and the art is spectacular. The content is fresh and inspiring in scope and the execution mostly matches the ambition of the project. This melting pot of a tale offers a little something for everyone and if you can handle the whole mess together then this will be for you.