Publisher: All Together Now Group
Creators: Peter Welmerink (Writer/Story), Josh Holley, Shane Luttrell, Steve Shipley, Doug Curtis (Interior artists)
Availability: Coming to Kickstarter
When a small ship inadvertently breaches into a parallel universe, it attracts the attention of the Silver Skati, a member of a multiversal watchdog group tasked with maintaining the integrity of each universe by preventing the cross-contamination of beings from one reality to another. But there’s much more afoot as a threat from that same parallel reality is bent on getting revenge by destroying adventurer Suzie Steam!
Now, before we get into this I want to make one thing clear: I know how hard it is to produce a comic. I know the amount of time, effort, soul, and not least of all financial investment it takes. And I do not, by any means, consider myself an authority on anything.
Let’s start with the good. Peter Welmerink came up with a great, fun concept here. Cross-multiversal stories, which seem to be in the Indie zietgeist these days, are a blast. I love seeing creators play with their peers, get great projects together, and share those with the world. It’s something I think we, as a community, need to do often. And as such, bringing the Lady Ska’a Ti’ar, also known as the cosmically-powerful Silver Skati, together with the 1950s science fiction-inspired world of Shane Luttrell’s Suzie Steam (and her dog Sarge!) is a blast. I absolutely adore Suzie’s kind of world. Bubble helmets, spacesuits for dogs, Jetsons-style cities…it’s glorious. My youngest son has a character named Captain Flash Future, Space Hero, who is very much in this vein so the love I have for Shane’s world runs deep. Plus, I am a HUGE fan off all things cosmic, and the Silver Surfer-meets-Dazzler Silver Skati (she skates through space on roller skates!!) just makes me smile from ear to ear. BIG fan of both those concepts, and I would definitely want to see more of them.
But, all that praise being said, this book suffers from some real problems. The first of which is the uneven storytelling that having four different artists on the book brings. Their styles, while broadly stylistically compatible, differ just enough in skill that it’s distracting, and made reading the book difficult. And again, as someone who in no way, shape, or form would be able to draw anywhere even close to any of these guys, I hate to say anything. But since this is a visual medium, I feel it’s necessary to point out. Especially since there’s some real opportunities for some spectacular visuals in space, as well as with the futuristic technologies shown.
Another distracting element is the book’s lettering, which is uncredited, so I don’t know if a single creator is responsible for that or if each artist lettered their own “chapter.” But regardless, the book is littered with misused crossbar “I”s, and varying inconsistent font styles and sizes (making some speech bubbles difficult to read). Now, sometimes different fonts are used to denote different “voices” (such as when I letter my own Taranis book, and the gods intentionally use a different font than other mortals), but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. It seems more like the lettering was changed so it would fit into the available space. The “tails” for the speech bubbles are inconsistent across the book as well, but I did enjoy the sound effects used. They’re really well done, and, as a letterer myself, my least-favorite part of the process.
In conclusion, I really want to like this book. I just feel like it could use a bit more polish. A solid, consistent artist throughout above all else, and some more practice with the lettering. But as I said in the beginning, the characters and concepts are great, and I enjoyed them.