Monday, July 25, 2011

''... The Summer Reaches Its Moment of Sadness ...''

Well, I'm back to posting after my annual Tour de France break feeling well rested; inspired by some of the greatest - and humblest - of sportsmen and just a little sad that the highlight of my sporting year is over (until next year at least).

In my absence our friend Simon Breeze has clearly been catching up with his reading pile as he's composed 3 new reviews for us: the second issue of Danger Girl And The Army Of Darkness from Dynamite and IDW, the first issue of Witchdoctor from Skybound and, kicking things off for us this week, 50 Girls 50 #1 from Image Comics

50 Girls 50 reviewed by Simon Breeze

I am a huge fan of Sci-Fi, so when I saw the cover for 50 girls 50 my interest peaked immediately: A woman in a retro-classic Sci-Fi spacesuit waving the American flag on a strange alien world with a rocketship on the horizon! What more can I say?

The premise for 50 Girls 50 is also a simple one, 10 ships, 50 women and one way home. Before I had actually read 50 Girls 50, I was getting a vibe of Lost in Space or a Farscape-type thing ... only with 50 women lost/trapped somewhere out there in space trying to find a way home. I wasn't far wrong either after reading. The other feeling I had was that this comic was either going to be total cheese-cake, come on, a space ship with 50 very attractive women on it lost is space somewhere, all in figure-hugging spacesuits? Or it was going to be some fantastic Sci-Fi. Again, being brilliant like I am (I joke), I wasn't wrong with that feeling either. Well, sort of...

The story begins with a quick set up. Two girls in figure hugging spacesuits being attacked by a giant alien creature, their guns miss-fire, so they have to make a run for it. This then jumps back to Earth, which appears to be set in the short future, and the anticipated return of the ESS Savannah from her space mission to travel through a wormhole in space and explore the galaxy. The reason for this mission is because the Earth is almost used up and over populated, and in order to survive we need to find new resources from other worlds.

The story now jumps back to an earlier point with the ESS Savannah and her crew, pre alien attack, and establish the premise for the attack. Simply that they are lost in space somewhere, it appears that they can't 'jump' home to Earth and, hell, there is a strange planet there, why not take a look?

Two of the crew fly down to the planet surface in a shuttle and quickly discover that there is a plastic desolving element in the atmosphere. Which is a problem, because not only is the shuttle and all of their equipment made of plastic, but so is their clothing! Oh-dear!

This now leads the two girls to come up with an ingenious way to escape from the planet before they are either eaten by a giant alien bug or all of their clothing is lost. Luckily, the girls manage to make it of the plant without getting eaten, the same can't be said for the clothing.

The issue finishes with one of the girls that visited the planet in the shower, and this is where it got interesting, because it introduces a very curious twist to the story that I'm not going to tell you here as it will blow the end of the first issue and simply ruin it for anyone who wants to read it and hasn't had the opportunity yet.

Okay, so my thoughts?

To start with, the art is brilliant! Really-really brilliant! Axel Medellin landed the illustrating role through an Image Comics art contest, and if this is his first comic, he is going to be one to watch in the future. I am predicting big things for him just off of the back of this first issue.

The science is ... well... let's put it this way: if your only knowledge of physics and 'space science' is Star Trek based, you'll mostly get along fine with it. However, if you're a bit like me, quite interested in it, it will undermine a little some of the core premisses of the story. I only bring this up as it seems (to me at least) to be written to play to science and its applications in space exploration and also very key to specific elements of the story too. But hell! You could say the same about the film Armageddon, and I remember really enjoying that slice of cheese-cake when I watched it.

My only other negative is that the dialogue seems a little clunky in places. It feels like it needs a 'feminine touch' to it too. You get the feeling in places that this is a comic about women written by men who think this is what a woman would say and do. This added to the flawed science can at times (for me) pull you out of the story.

Over all I found 50 Girls 50 a nice slice of fun Sci-Fi. Is it cheese cake? Of course. Is it Sc-Fi? Hell yes! There is lots of action, fantastic artwork, excellent design work too on everything from the spacesuits and ships to the alien world and creatures. The story is fast paced, interesting and in places quite smart. This is a really enjoyable read that I'm going to be giving a re-read very soon, which I am sure will leave me much happier than the first time.

50 Girls 50 is a four part mini series, of which I will be picking up all four parts. Some times you just need some action packed Sci-Fi adventure in your reading pile, and 50 Girls 50 is served with a nice slice of cheese cake! I give 50 Girls 50 a 'boldly going where no woman has gone before' four out of five!

50 Girls 50 #1
Written by Doug Murray & Frank Cho, art by Axel Medellin, colours by Nikos Koutsis, letters and design by Thomas Mauer
Published by Image Comics