In space operas there are two very distinct worlds; for every Star Wars or Star Trek crew with heroic missions and theme music swells, there’s got to be thousands of “little guys” shipping freight, doing boring shuttle runs, or just trying to make ends meet on some backwater world. There are a few authors focusing on the little bit players out there (James S.A. Corey’s excellent Expanse series comes to mind), but the majority would rather follow a hero of destiny swinging lazerswords at fucked up father figures.
Hadrian’s Wall is a story about the little guy, tragedy, and death – and from the first issue, it looks like it’s going to be the opposite of boring.
Hadrian’s Wall (Image Comics)
“Mom, I broke a nice man’s helmet!”
It’s 2085. New York and Moscow, both nuked 100 years earlier at the climax of the Cold War, have begun to cooperate by exploring and colonizing outer space.
On the ship “Hadrian’s Wall,” designed to jump into unknown systems and look for needed raw materials and resources, Edward Madigan has died – in what seems to be a suit malfunction. Back on Earth – Simon Moore, Edward’s former friend, is being asked to investigate the incident.
We’re not given a full view into Simon’s past, but we do know that he used to be married to Annabelle – Edward’s newly widowed wife, and that Edwards shot Simon four times for some reason – but these are just tantalizing tidbits that make me want to know more immediately. Sidenote: I don’t know if this is intentionally done, but I’m getting a super Carl Sagan vibe from Simon. Who’s with me? (please note – if no one reading this knows who Sagan is, let me know, so I can jump off a high ledge)
“We are all stardust.”
That’s pretty much the extent of the information we’re given. We have a death that needs investigation, the ex-husband of the widow has taken the gig, and the dead guy shot our investigator. I mean, does this sounds like a god damn (space) circus of awesome to anyone else?
Is It Good?
This is how you write a film noir in space. The slow drip of information, past dalliances between characters, substance abuse, a femme fatale who may or may not be involved in a death, and over all of it, a seemingly faceless and unstoppable force of colonization feels like an old Chandler novel set in L.A.
If this was a full book, it’s the kind of tale I’d read in a single sitting – staying awake till 2 AM to find out just who the hell done it, and what the various layers of clues and connections actually spell out.
I’ll give this issue a 9.5 out of 10 – hugely entertaining first issue, and makes me very excited to read the rest.