Okay, this is about to get pretty meta, so bear with me.
In 2002, the world was introduced to Firefly, one of the best sci-fi television series of all time. Written/produced by Joss Whedon, it starred a hugely talented ensemble cast and developed a rabidly loyal cult following.
Unfortunately, the network it aired on (Fox) hates things that are awesome and canceled the show after one abridged season. There has been an excellent movie and many (mostly good) comic series since then, but many folks still aren’t over the show being canned–myself included.
Two of the stars from Firefly, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk, have since gone on to do some great work on other projects.
In 2015, Tudyk launched an Indiegogo campaign to produce Con Man, a webseries about an actor on a wildly popular one season sci-fi show called ‘Spectrum’ who struggles to find his career footing after its cancelation.
This week, a comic adaptation of the fictional Spectrum comic series launches with a #0 issue for Free Comic Book Day from Automatic Publishing.
Got all that? I hope so, because we’re about to dive in and answer our favorite question here at AiPT:
When did that rash show up?
Whoops. What I meant to ask was actually our second favorite question:
Is it good?
Spectrum #0 (Automatic Publishing)
- Captain Reynolds, still mean and surly as ever. (But now his name’s Raaker).
- Not really sure what’s going on, but it looks awesome.
- Could Raaker be crazy, or is that just the narrative?
- Dang. The River Tam stand-in doesn’t mess around.
- …or give us much of a clue about what’s happening.
Is It Good?
I LOVE Firely.
I really like Con Man.
Spectrum? Not so much–at least for this particular issue.
The artwork by Sarah Stone is absolutely gorgeous. Beyond that, however, the narrative isn’t clear at all. There are familiar sci-fi story beats (aliens attacking earth, bitter/retired war hero pulled back into action, child messiah figure, etc.), but nothing that really grabbed me other than the aforementioned art.
And aside from one really good Mal Reynolds-esque line, the characters don’t feel all that interesting. The Scion’s power is kind of cool, but much like the plot, her abilities and motivations are frustratingly vague.
Perhaps it’s because this is a #0 issue. Maybe we’ll get a more definitive setup (and more characters) in the first issue proper. But if Spectrum is supposed to be based on a sci-fi show that distinguished itself with fantastic character interactions and dialogue, then the series has a long way to go before it can start comparing itself to Firefly.
Still, Stone’s superb artwork definitely makes this worth picking up on Free Comic Book Day–and adding the first regular issue to your pull list. If it’s related to Firefly/Con Man, then chances are that Spectrum will end up being good. Let’s just hope it has time to get there.