Orson is one of several men breed by Nasa to explore Mars. This race of spacemen is able to endure the rigorous space travel and Mars conditions. Unfortunately after a while the space program got canceled and the spacemen were grounded on earth.
A little girl get kidnapped and somehow Orson gets mixed up with it. The major problem is that the little girl is a nation wide celebrity with several interested factions out looking for her. And most of them don't have her best interests in mind.
How is it?
Spaceman is brought to us my the mind of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. Azzarello has some good hits on his name and that was what attracted me to this book in the first place.
Azzarello creates a post-apocalyptic world were the seas have risen considerably and as a result many cities have been submerged. This created a geographic divergence that complemented the usual social classes chasm. Its almost like a social Apartheid, here the poor and undesirable live in the Rises and the wealthy and powerful live in the Dries.
Orson, the protagonist, lives in the Rises and tries to leave a peaceful and uneventful life. Of course that won't happen and he is dragged into a turmoil of events that will reunite him with some of his lost spacemen brothers. Tara, the adoptive daughter of the most famous couple in the country is kidnapped and Orton is dragged into the middle of it. Basically Spaceman tells the tale of this kidnapping, why it happened and how it will end.
Apart from the origin of Orson and his spaceman brothers, there's is very little space at all in this story. There are flashbacks to the time when the spacemen where in Mars and how that defined each one. Its a cool way to flesh the characters out, but if you're expecting more space out of Spaceman, forget it.
Azzarello pulls off the flashbacks very nicely and it never gets confusing or disorienting. Sadly the ending is somewhat underwhelming. While the journey is interesting and has some truly exciting moments, there is no payoff. The story ends abruptly and the reader is left without a sense of closure. There is no happy or sad ending, moral of the story or life sucks moment. It just ends.
But the major turnoff in the story is the character voices. I loath when dialogue is written "in voice". Between the slang, word contractions and new words I had a very hard time understanding what was being said. English is not my first language (with doesn't help), but I have reasonably good reading comprehensions skills, however this book provided Herculean grade linguistic obstacles that weren't always overtaken. Or in Rises speak "Kno we kno, we no brain we? Say."
|Horrible voices are horrible|
The art on the other hand is just beautiful. The characters are excellent. The children, that many times are just small adults, are drawn to perfection. And the pinnacle of it all are the spaceman themselves. The spaceman are described as the future man. However they're represented with more resemblances to the Neanderthal man than Homo Sapiens. This is exalted by the somewhat simpleton personality and emotional (i)maturity with which they're characterized. Its a cool flavor added to the spacemen.
|The Rises is a dreadful place|
|Just a Junker gaining some Funs|
Spaceman had everything to be a great book. Sadly it didn't reach that level of greatness. I find the ending lacking. Azzarello is capable of much better than this. If he had just nailed the ending this would be one of the contenders to book of the year, even with the devilishly confusing dialogue. Eduardo Risso on the other hand was on top of his game in here.
Overhaul this is a good book. The art alone is worth the price tag and the Deluxe edition comes with a cool character sketch book.
Authors: Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Clem Robins, Patricia Mulvihill, Giulia Brusco
Originally Published at Reading Graphic Novels http://readinggraphicnovels.blogspot.com/2012/12/review-spaceman.html