One of the joys of reading comics these days is knowing how serious the creators and the audience take the stories. A series that seems indie and obscure could be the next big TV show or movie. That’s how I felt when reading Lightstep since it clearly details a sci-fi world filled with wonder, messaging, and interesting ideas.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
January Lee is of royal descent, part of the ruling class that lives out their lives on accelerated, ”Lightstepped” worlds where a single day is a lifetime on a normal planet. But her ”holy ailment,” which allows her to see the truth behind the Primogenitor’s lies, marks her for banishment to the outer worlds. This is the beginning of a fantastic tale of alien worlds, a star-spanning empire, and rogues and rebels seeking a weapon hidden in the transmission of a radio drama from Earth thousands of years ago.
Why does this matter?
Writers Milos Slavkovic (who is also the artist) and Mirko Topalski are delivering a sci-fi comic series any fan of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius will enjoy. It’s an original series that has the edge one requires to get a bit of meaning in their sci-fi but it also looks gorgeous while doing it.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I started reading this book with absolutely no idea what it was about and was pleasantly surprised to find a robust world never explored characters with something to fight for, and a universe that felt completely original. Milos Slavkovic and Mirko Topalski seemed to have caught lightning in a bottle with a premise that revolves around an upper class that has figured out how to live longer due to the speed of light and yet under an oppressive culture based on a single man’s desire to make humanoids perfect. There is an underlining story here about the upper class taking what they want that is interesting due to the ties it has with a martyr they worship. One could take from this story meanings dealing with religion as well as the dangers of humanity connecting itself with technology.
Aside from the meaningful storytelling — is a hallmark of good sci-fi — this story also introduces an interesting protagonist. Her name is January Lee and she seems to have some kind of psychic bond with the ancestor who her people worship. She above all the others should believe in him and yet she doesn’t. There’s an interesting internal struggle at play here that is exciting and is very much worth exploring, especially with how the cliffhanger leaves this character.
Slavkovic’s art is unparalleled in its clean look with its sexy lines and gorgeously rendered sci-fi technology. The sharpness of the art helps create a sense of realism that helps sell the story and the characters within. There are also inspired looking aliens that you’ve never seen before that are striking. Not since Saga have I read a science fiction comic series and been so enthralled by the art and story. The design of the aliens is particularly interesting as they unnerve while also enthrall you. That’s a feat since the plethora of aliens we’ve seen across media is so robust. Slavkovic draws with a curvaceous line, be it a jawline or a breast. The art also stands out as it looks so different from the usual fare in comics today.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There is a lot to take in with this first issue introducing us to an entire world, a social structure, as well as a martyr our protagonist seems to not believe in. One can take from this story meaning and apply it to our world, but as a separate world from our own, it’s almost too much. There are guidelines as to how to take this story in, but there is still so much yet unknown. As a parable it’s fascinating, but as a world, it still feels a bit hollow.
Is it good?
Not since Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius have I been more interested in a science fiction story. Read Lightstep for its deeper meaning, but also its exceptional beauty.