Sunday, April 21, 2019 • R.I.P. Edition • In this issue: an Outhouser will DIE!

Review: Spaceman #1

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Wednesday, October 26 2011 and posted in Reviews

It's the debut of an ambitious new science fiction limited series from the creative team of 100 Bullets!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:


– the Eisner Award-winning creators of 100 BULLETS – return to Vertigo with a new 9-issue miniseries, kicking off with a debut issue priced at just $1.00!

Set in a post-apocalyptic near future, SPACEMAN tells the story of Orson – a hulking, lonely loser who spends his days collecting scrap metal and dreaming of the startrekking life he was promised.

That is, until he finds himself at the center of a celebrity child kidnapping case. Seeing his chance to be a hero, Orson takes matters into his own hands...but will his actions only cause more heartbreak?

Vertigo 32pg.
Color $1.00 US
Mature Readers
On Sale October 26, 2011


"It's the same fuck old day it always is."

When they worked on 100 Bullets, Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, and the rest of the creative team immersed their character arcs in a larger societal context, creating a fully-realized world that basically serves as a twisted mirror image of our own.  Now they've done that again, but from a very different perspective, in Spaceman #1, which takes place in a far flung future that may illustrate where we as a society are heading.

The story follows Orson, a poor, primal-looking dreamer who was created in a lab to go to Mars, but is stuck hauling scrap for a mere pittance.  Meanwhile, a young, would-be adopted child/reality show contestant is stolen from a celebrity couple in a case that captivates the nation.  The two storylines chug along through the issue until they converge on the last page, introducing the plot of the nine-issue series after spending a lot of page space introducing the dark messy world of the story and the colorful, off the world characters. 

Orson's life is a pathetic struggle and, even in his imaginations, nothing is easy.  It's a tough world after all, rendered in harsh reds and dank, muddy tones clashing with overbearing shadows.  Eduardo Risso is one of the best visual storytellers in all of comics and Trish Mulvihill complements his sensibilities perfectly.  The sequences on Mars (actually in Orson's head) are wide open and expansive while the earth-bound scenes are tight and almost claustrophobic.  The world just looks so oppressively garish and dark in Spaceman #1 that you can feel the grit and smell the sewage in the water.  It's a lifelike, breathing comic that envelopes you with its story.  Orson himself is quite a creation.  Resembling a humanoid ape at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, he's a character that seems to personify the failed dreams of the now neutered space program in the US.  Modern thought about space travel, with mythology littered with apes who have been rocketed into the atmosphere, takes on an air of "why bother when there are so many problems here on Earth?" in the minds of many, and this issue taps that vein to great effect. 

Writer Brian Azzarello's greatest gift, aside from thinking about the big picture in his stories, is the way he works with language, and he gets to display that aptitude to great effect here.  The class distinctions and grit of everyday life is built into the lexicon used by all of the characters in the issue.  Orson and the urchins in his company use a dialect that functions similarly to the Nadsat devised by author Anthony Burgess in that each bit of affected speech needs to be read in context to understand its meaning (much like Azzarello's stories on the whole).  It makes for an intense, almost interactive reading experience.

Spaceman #1 is a deep, dense comic that's absolutely thrilling to read.  It takes place in a world that resonates deeply with the modern reader.  It's textured, stylish, and insightful, and if this first issue is any indication, the series looks to be the next great work by this creative team. 

Review by: Royal Nonesuch

The Outhouse is not responsible for any butthurt incurred by reading this website. All original content copyright the author of said content. Banner by Ali Jaffery - he's available for commission!