Royal Nonesuch reviews the much-hyped Cold Space #1, published by Boom! Studios.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written by Samuel L. Jackson, Eric Calderon
Drawn by Jeremy Rock
SC, 24 pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER A: Dave Johnson
COVER B: Jeffrey Spokes
Diamond Code: FEB100744
From legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson and Emmy nominated writer/producer Eric Calderon, the team that brought you the Emmy-award-winning, best-selling AFRO SAMURAI comes their next original series – COLD SPACE. When an on-the-run outlaw crash-lands on a hostile planet on the brink of civil war, he finds himself in the crossfire between two warring factions. But in chaos lies opportunity – because where there’s war, there’s money to be made. A hard-boiled sci-fi action-adventure with covers by Eisner Award-winning artist Dave Johnson and IRREDEEMABLE cover artist Jeffrey Spokes!
It's hard to know what to expect when a comic book publisher gets behind a celebrity vanity project. Long-time comic book fans seem to get particularly wary, as they question the motives behind the project (is this just a cynical way to build a new film franchise?), and whether it will leave any kind of a mark on the industry and the medium. After all, these stories don't have a tendency to stick around in the collective memory of fans (what was that Rosario Dawson thing called again?).
COLD SPACE comes to us from actor Samuel L. Jackson and his writing partner Eric Calderon, by way of Boom! Studios. Jackson has some credibility built up among fans, and a decade of Ultimate Nick Fury has gotten them accustomed to a lead character who looks like him, but COLD SPACE still has all the makings of a project that will not amount to much more than another minor blip on the comics radar. It isn't a disastrous outing, but it isn't particularly compelling either. The story follows space rogue Mulberry, an interstellar badass with what may be the least badass name possible. He's on the run from somebody, for some reason, and crash lands on a supposedly brutal planet, where he spends much of the second half of the issue unconcsious. This leaves the story in the hands of a decidedly tepid supporting cast, which is filled by gangs and scavengers. Putting the lead character on the shelf for a large stretch of the first issue of a brand new series is an interesting choice, but it doesn't work as well here since the group of scavengers and gangsters that the story shifts its focus onto aren't that strong, and some of the storytelling towards the ending isn't that clear. A better introduction to Mulberry himself may have made this a stronger first issue. As it is, the world just isn't that engaging.
The artwork doesn't help matters much. It's well rendered and clear enough, but it feels all wrong for this story. It's very bright and vibrant, but the coloring is too flat and doesn't provide much contrast. Jackson and Calderon seem to be going for a grittier feel, but Jeremy Rock's figures are very stiff, and Juan Manuel Tumburus' coloring makes it look like a series of stills taken from a Flash animation.
Samuel L. Jackson lending his creative talents to a brand new comic book ought to make some waves, but COLD SPACE sleepwalks its way through a competent but barely solid debut issue.