Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Eduardo Francisco
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
As a child, Ran Agole has it all. All the permission and run of Fedcaf Low Orbit Command Headquarters, coupled with the skills, desire and dreams of being a Navy Wing commander. Unfortunately, all of that is swept away when her fathers defence grid fails allowing the destruction of a station and they are sent off station, to eke out an existence.
As you’d expect, that isn’t where the story ends. The fact we see an older Ran attacking a starship as part of a Valkyrie group, it’s fair to say, there is a story to tell between ages 12 and present age.
Written by Brian Wood, there is enough stereotypes that will no doubt garner interest, as well as questions. Is it a young adult comic? Is it sci-fi battle book? Is it a Blakes 7 type of thing with outlaws versus the seemingly evil federation? These questions may not be answered anytime soon and to be honest, it is that ambiguity that will make the book appeal to a wide range of readers. In addition, the dialogue is believable and Ran is a likeable character with whom you can empathise.
Art is by Eduardo Francisco, who produces a style that has a definite manga feel, with pointy chins and large eyes. This isn’t always a good match for me, but the look does feel futuristic which in turns adds to the overall effect of the book. Also adding to the universe is the work by colorist Michael Atiyeh whose painted approach gives the world a realistic feel.
I have said it before, but with Dark Horse Comics what you see is pretty much what you get. Here, you have a serious sci-fi book that will appeal to the young adult market, but also includes a mature level of art. I totally understand the need to diversify to attract more readers, and the strength is that Dark Horse haven’t seemed to alienate any potential readers with this book.