Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.
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Adventure returns to space this week in the new comic Joyride written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly. ComiConverse contributor Darryll Robson takes a look at the first issue.
Escape from a dystopian society into a better life beyond the stars is the age old story that forms the majority of the narrative in Boom! Studios latest mini-series Joyride.
In a distant future the Earth has become unified under one government and is protected from the rest of the universe by a physical shield that envelopes the planet. The moon has been transformed into a massive weapon, something akin to the Death Star from Star Wars. The weaponÂ is used to eradicate any dissidents on the planetâs surface. The entire Earth has become a police state ruled by a privileged few while the rest struggle to survive.
Uma is fed up. All she wants to do is escape the oppression and live a free life. Unfortunately for her this means leaving her home, the Earth. To do this, she has made contact with someone who can help; someone mysterious off world.
In order to execute her plan, Uma convinces her boyfriend, Dewydd, to smuggle her aboard the Moon base so that she can meet up with her contact on the dark side of the moon. Between them, Uma and Dewydd manage to work their way through the Moon base and out of the Earth shell. This is where they see the night sky for the first time, awash with stars, enforcing Umaâs belief that there is more to life than forced labour on the planet below.
Nothing ever goes off without a hitch and in Joyride the hitch comes in the form of Private Cosanova, a member of the Moonâs security personnel.Â She tracks Uma and Dewydd out beyond the shield and nearly disrupts the escape plan. She is an embodiment of obedience whoÂ will stop the fugitives at all cost. It is only when she is confronted with the lies of her government and the alien spaceship that appears before them, that she begins to question her role in society. She does not have too much time to ponder, however, as the alien presence doesnât distinguish between the different humans and transports all of them on board their spacecraft.
There are some further twists involved. Aliens who donât turn out to be as friendly as hoped and robots who are, but the upshot is Uma and co. end the issue embarking on an unknown adventure into the depths of space. They are joyriding through the galaxy in a stolen spaceship just like Zaphod Beeblebrox in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
The script written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly is well paced and reads easily. Unfortunately the story itself is not very original and at no point does it step above similar stories available in recent years. Comics such as RunLoveKill have similar themes, escape from a dystopian world, but have a betterÂ hook; Tsuei and Caneteâs story stands out in the crowd, Lanzing/Kellyâs does not. Â Joyride could be a retelling of Loganâs Run, Blakes 7 or even The Island. There is nothing that substantially differentiates it from any of its forebears.
On the visual side, the art work by Marcus To is cinematic in style. The influences of classic sci-fi movies and modern Manga are obvious on every page. To treats his panels like the view of a camera with wide, sweeping shots dissolving into close ups and then back again. His composition focuses the readerâs attention exactly where the script needs it to be, making the story very easy to follow. In that sense Joyride is even more like a modern blockbuster movie. The art leads the reader through the story, almost spoon feeding the narrative.
There is some impressive design work on show in the pages of Joyride,Â but a lot of it will feel familiar to seasoned sci-fi fans and comic book readers. The Moon base screams Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens. The escape from Earth is pure Loganâs Run. Even the aliens resemble the villains from which was re-released last year.
Joyride is not a bad read; it is entertaining and punchy with likable characters. The major drawback is that the narrative does not reach beyond the ordinary, which is always important for a first issue.
Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse.Â Occasionally he might use his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson
A well written and drawn comic that unfortunately doesn’t offer anything new or outstanding.