Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mr. Green, Conservatory, Lead Pipe... etc.

WILL Mystery in Space satisfy my needs for real comics science fiction??????

No.

For a company like DC, and a book like Mystery in Space, the first issue is more important than ever. Writer Jim Starlin has quite a pedigree with this stuff, but I must say I was disappointed with this introduction to a new series featuring Captain Comet. At least it's all about Captain Comet in this first story arc, but I've immediately no interest in the second. The book is overwrought with narration and exposition, and introduced characters do not invite anything on latch on to.

Sadly, science fiction for this book is just the setting, it has no play in the structure or feel of the story. It's not really a bad book, but it tries too hard to hit all the standard comic book notes and is written in a painfully obvious comic book way that wants to be better than a comic book. Er, that might not make much sense, but I don't know how else to describe it. You may say it's not fair to fault a comic book for being a comic book, but DC already publishes a fucking hundred of those with the exact same formula. If they are going to take a chance on publishing a new book as genre-specific as Mystery in Space, the least they could do is try something somewhat different than everything else.

The biggest thing that struck me is that for a book called "Mystery in Space," there was no mystery. Something has happened to Captain Comet involving a death and rebirth, but it's not that intriguing, and it's not much of a mystery. As is stands it floats as a whodunnit with out much connection to anything larger to make me want to know why. And it's not like there isn't anything to cull from here. The monolith on the moon in 2001, that was a mystery in space. The alien spacecraft that sat over Earth for 50 years in Childhood's End... baby, that was a mystery.

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