AMONGST THE STARS

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: AMONGST THE STARS / AUTHOR: JIM ALEXANDER / ARTIST: MIKE PERKINS / PUBLISHER: PLANET JIMBOT / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Penned by Wolf Country wonder boy Jim Alexander and told over six issues, Amongst the Stars has all the heavy weirdness of great British sci-fi writers like Douglas Adams and Iain M. Banks. As intelligent and engaging as the story itself is, it’s hard to get past Mike Perkins’ lacklustre art.

Perkins does apologise in the forward on behalf of any inconsistencies throughout the book, noting that it was all illustrated at the beginning of his career. While the earthbound panels are monochromatic, sporting a harsh and cold edge, it’s the scenes in space which are severely lacking. While white space is an important and complex part of the narrative, some shading would have helped go beyond what looks like blank images in a colouring book. Since Perkins went on to become a talented and prolific artist on Marvel’s Captain America and Deathlock (among many others) it is interesting to look at his genesis.

The story pitches an alien race who reach out to Earth with their collective mind, but it proves futile and crippling, trapping their species in a mockery of inescapable horror movies. Of course, most people on Earth remain unaware, but the key to helping them seems tucked away in our consciousness. Professor William Holland is Stephen Hawking’s comic book alternate peddling life on other planets, and main man Gary knows something foul’s afoot. Included in the back matter is the superfluous addition Growing Pains with art from Wolf Country’s Will Pickering sporting a more refined take on Perkins style.

The dialogue is effortless and the narration sparse but devastating and loaded with smart ideas. There’s an underground quality to the book, due in no small part to Perkins’ art, as if penned with some sense of urgency and hurried around from hand to hand. It might be one that slips well under the radar, but it’s well worth being in the camp that read it.
 

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