Happy QuarterCannonball to me!
I was in the library to pick up a the ten ton Oathbringer, and happened across this graphic novel I had not heard of previously. In truth, it’s Colleen Doran’s name that caught my attention first – she is very talented, able to draw and paint in many different styles, and has interesting discussions about art and artists and women in the graphic novel business on Twitter. Warren Ellis of Transmetropolitan fame is good too, though.
The foreword to the novel is basically a love letter to space travel, specifically manned space travel. To a certain extent, it reminded me a bit of Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars, which is a book I love dearly and is filled with marvel and wonder with regards to spaceflight. Ellis wrote it a few months after completion of the book and only a few days after the Columbia disaster. His grief is palpable; I remember sitting there that day feeling absolute dread as we learned more about that terrible accident. Like Ellis and Doran, I worried about the astronauts, their families and coworkers, and what it all meant for the space program overall. In reality, it meant that people still went up but there was soon a long pause in the manned space program, although not publicly tied to the disaster. It took some of the shine off the dream of space exploration for some I suspect, although not for most. Despite space travel being inherently dangerous, people still want to go, much like those who climb the +8000 feet mountains.
In any case. A space shuttle takes off from earth, but mysteriously disappears soon afterwards: no explosion, no distress call, just vanished. Ten years later, the space program has been abandoned and things have fallen apart. There is tent city at the space centre and former astronauts and scientists are left in a kind of limbo, their dreams crumbled. With no warning, the space shuttle suddenly lands on earth with only a catatonic pilot on board, with the only evidence of what might have happened consisting of Mars dust on the wheels and some incomprehensible changes to the shuttle itself. The remainder of the story centres on solving the mystery of what happened, and how the pure intellectual mystery of it reignites hope and wonder in the people seeking to solve the mystery.
The book was a fun science fiction story, if a little short for me. It felt too easy to solve the mystery and I thought there was more work to be done on developing the main characters. However, I love space stories, and I really enjoyed Doran’s art. Her characters all look very different from each other, much like the work done by Fiona Staples. It was a good, if slight, graphic novel.
#CannonballBingo: Cover Art