Sea of Stars is the newest creator-owned sci-fi project from Image Comics. Yes, the same publisher of Saga, but this is a different beast entirely. The creative team of Jason Aaron, Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum, Stephen Green, and Rico Renzi is out of this world. Hallum spoke to AiPT! on our Comics Podcast just over a week ago about this series and on the podcast, he gave us a hint at what is to come. And what’s to come is a great journey.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“LOST IN THE WILDS OF HEAVEN,” Part Two (of Five): Space trucker Gil’s problems have gone from bad to worse after a giant leviathan destroyed his ship and probably killed his young son, Kadyn. He’s quickly losing oxygen and-after being attacked by weird aliens-thinks he might also be losing his mind. Meanwhile, Kadyn is very much alive and having a great time with his new best buds!
Why does this matter?
I think the tagline that is printed on the back cover says it all: “A father. A son. And a whole lot of space between them.” This is a story about a father and son trying to survive physically in space and emotionally after the father’s wife and son’s mother passes away. It’s deep in more ways than one.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue picks up with the father figure filling us in on what happened after he was swallowed up by a giant space whale. These opening pages do a good job establishing the story and could be a starting point if you didn’t get your hands on issue #1. Much of the story focuses on the father as his life support slowly dies and his injuries are severe. His health doesn’t matter though, as he’s trying to find and save his son. Little does he know his son is somehow very special.
This issue begins to open up what happened to this father and son prior to the freight trip they were on when things went sideways. That helps add a bit of weight to their emotional journey, which is particularly tragic given Kayden is only 9 years-old. They only have each other now, but they are separated in space with dangers looming over their shoulders.
Green and Renzi really throw the father in the deep end of this issue. He’s fighting space monkeys to start and later must throw his body at his only chance of survival as his oxygen gives out. These threats are expertly drawn and designed with a creepy alien look that’s not too scary for the young ones, but creative enough for the older readers to really appreciate. There’s a robot the father comes in contact with that is particularly well designed; I could see it popping up in the Star Wars universe no problem. The whale and monkey creatures that were following Kayden around are actually quite cute too, and that helps ease the reader’s mind as far as Kayden’s safety is concerned.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
This is a survival story that feels very singular in its approach. There is clearly a huge world to explore here that we’ve never seen, which can make the pace feel sluggish. It opens with a bit of recap too, and while it’s filled with interesting twists and turns, it’s clear the juxtaposition of the father and son are split to show different types of space fauna. A more even split of Kayden and the father might open things up a bit, but as it stands it’s still a good story with great ideas.
Is it good?
A strong visual adventure of imagination wrapped in an endearing bond between father and son.