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‘Faster than Light #1:’ Comic Book Review

To boldly go to a galaxy far, far away.

Image Comics launched a series that presses the boundaries of technology in the story and in our world.  The first mission to Mars has been augmented with a new technology: a device allowing for faster-than-light travel (Didn’t think I needed a spoiler alert there . . . but I could be wrong.), reducing the trip from the Earth to the red planet from 22 months to just a few minutes.  This tech has apparently come at a price, though we don’t find out much about that except for on the back cover.

Brian Haberlin is very familiar with sci-fi. His story is chock full of call-outs to the biggest space series around (Yeah, the title.), and his idea of how quickly space travel would change with the advent of the ability to surpass Einstein’s universal speed limit. (Basically the faster you go, the more massive you become, and as you approach the speed of light, your mass becomes infinite. Same as me eating chips on the couch reading comi . . . never mind.)  Within the issue, there seems to be a lot of mystery as to where this new tech came from, and what’s really going on.  Multiple countries are in the mix in this mission, and it seems that not everyone is all about the team, and there may be more than one mission at play.  I hope to learn a lot more of the backstory in the second issue.

The artwork is everything you could want from a space noir - dark and moody with a real sense of the utter blackness of interplanetary travel.  There are some subtle nods here, as well, to classic views and ships. I noticed some Firefly-class elements, as well asa shuttle that looks like one made with disposable razors for nacelles. (Okay, I watched a few documentaries on how they created the special effects on TNG . . . you know, when I wasn’t hanging with all my frie . . . never mind.)  There’s some wonderful tonal shading and delicate line work that really bring a stark feeling to every character and environment.

So, this series has some very interesting features with its downloadable AR app.  Opening the app and pointing at different pages (not all, and the app lists them for you so you know where the content is) allows you to see and, at times, interact with 3D effects that quite literally jump off the page.  The app is free for iTunes or Android and is really rather cool.  The 3D models are crisp and sharp, as well as interactive.  These models are similar to the AR cards on the Nintendo 3DS, and though they’re fixed to a defined space (No whooshing the ship around your apartment, unless you pick up the book and maneuvered the phone properly and don’t mind the awkward sensation while trying to guide it over a fish tank.  Okay, I get left alone a lot, just go with it.), they add a literal, new dimension to the artwork.  There are also some log files filed by crew members available that allow you into their thoughts and add more content to an already packed story.

Sci-fi and space fans will certainly enjoy this series based in a not-terribly-distant future, where all the things we’ve ever hoped for concerning travel among the stars are given to us, and somehow we’ll find out why.

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Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2015 15:37