I’d heard talk of the TKO Studios releases around the usual social media sources and after struggling to get hold of them in the UK……that all changed with a bit of luck…..so it was time to dive right in.
Going in blind and making a point of avoiding any other spoilers it was safe to say that the Jeff Lemire name appearing on the cover had me psyched but inside was a space adventure that really caught me by surprise. It tells the story of the U.S.S. Montgomery as a crew of astronauts head to an off-world colony with their families in tow and just when you think you know the type of story that’s about to unfold where space travel & new species will be the order of the day, it instead turns into a story of survival where the ships AI is the only saviour for the lucky few to survive a self inflicted disaster that wipes out the adults of the crew.
Life in the big black becomes even more perilous when contact with Earth and the colonies is lost but with the AI’s protocols deactivated the ability to survive becomes a little bit easier and harder all at once. Strange surroundings close in around them and as they visit a seemingly abandoned space station and encounter ships from the same fleet, we soon get to see the divided opinions the adults hold as to just what the best options for the population of a dying planet should be……and the kids are caught in the middle.
Jeff weaves an amazing plot for us from the first page and the subtle character development that appears effortlessly takes this from a run-of-the-mill sci-fi story to what feels like a classic. Gabriel Walta’s art elevates this even further with the ability to capture the vastness of the space and make it feel like the scary place it really is. Something that’s even more powerful as it centres around a crew of kids, toddlers & babies. That writing & art combo and in fact, the story itself, all benefit from Steve Wands lettering who takes the dialogue between the AI & the kids in hand and makes the pages ooze that space-style characters that a story of this quality demands…..and then some.
This whole book has that “G-Man – this is written with you in mind” vibe about it because each element entertained & intrigued me at every step of the way. The scares were right in my face, the losses hit me in the gut and with a lifetime of sci-fi movies in my head it had the echoes of stuff like Silent Running, 2001, Moon, and so many more that brought with it an extra flood of interaction between the story and my brain. An early contender for my 2020 highlights already……..which have a strong chance at featuring some other TKO titles I’m sure.
Head over to the facebook, twitter & Instagram pages to keep updated about all the titles they have…..and if you get onto the TKO Studios website you can also read the first issue of each title for free……you WON’T be disappointed.