March 29, 2017

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REVIEW: Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #1



Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality #1
Created by Alexis Ziritt & Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Written by Fabian Rangel, Jr.
Art by Alexis Ziritt
Letters and Design by Ryan Ferrier

Good news for fans of crazy, fun comics that will melt your face with psychedelic art - Space Riders is back and it's just as great as ever. If you're not familiar with the story of Space Riders, here's what you need to know. Capitan Peligro is the Captain of the Santa Muerte (a ship that looks like a menacing giant skull), a ship in the EISF (kinda like Starfleet but more badass). He's joined by his crew, the Baboon Mono, and the robot Yara. They roam the stars, fight bad guys, right wrongs, etc. In this issue, all is not well aboard the Santa Muerte as the ship takes on a bunch of no-good Vikers (space viking bikers, obviously) and we see and discover new mysteries as there's tension among the crew.

 

This is such a fun book. It's a crazy, engaging, psychedelic space adventure. If you're looking for a comic that's a legitimate delight to read, that will leave you feeling enthusiastic about the medium, this is a great read. Capitan Peligro is such a great, gruff, take-no-prisoners character, and the whole crew is similarly memorable, such as the thoughtful spiritual, devout Mono. Rangel writes great, punchy dialogue here (it helps to know a little Spanish as well). I also appreciate Rangel's vision of a cosmic future where American English isn't the dominant or only language spoken throughout the cosmos, where a Capitan leads the flagship of the fleet.

One of the other good things Rangel does in Space Riders is to let Ziritt's art tell the story. Ziritt creates some fantastic, jaw-droppingly psychedelic art in this comic. He's got a style that's rough, and detailed, and feels decidedly analog, like underground art that you might be lucky to discover. It's very much his own style, but it does feel like Ziritt (along with so many others) is inpsired by some of Jack Kirby's most out-there cosmic comics, along with the 70's work of Jim Starlin.  Additionally, if you enjoy the work of artists like Tom Scioli (who has a similar analog, old-school feel to his work along with the Kirby inspiration), Nathan Fox (who also did great work on the Captain Victory mini, which had an out-there space feel to it as well), Jim Mahfood or James Stokoe (both with unique but similarly detailed styles), then you'll really enjoy this book. Ziritt does some gorgeous, inspired design work in this comic, from the Santa Muerte (a giant skull flying through space), to each individual Viker, to the amazing way they combine into a sort of Viker Voltron, and the trippy psychedelic demons that Peligro must face.  It really is some original, inspiring design work.

 

Ziritt's colors explode off of the page. He's got a highly atmospheric style, and sometimes panels are monochromatic for effect, and sometimes certain characters are highlighted red or blue in order to show mood or focus on the tension between the characters. And the scenes that take place in a psychic realm are genuinely mind-blowing in the explosion of weird colors and shapes. I mentioned the "analog" feel of the book - the page borders have a weathered, faded feel to them with stains and blotches. The effect is to give the book the feel of a found artifact from a cooler time long ago. Ryan Ferrier does some fantastic hand-lettering and design here, which is completely consistent with the old-school underground feel of the book. The sound effects lettering is really additive to the book, and everything from the colors to letters to design feels like a unified whole.

I highly recommend you check out Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality. It'll melt your brain, but it's totally worth it.