Saturday, April 27, 2013
Cold Space (comic)
Artist: Jeremy Rock
Collects: Cold Space #1-4
So tell me. Are you, by chance, interested in a comic written by Samuel L Jackson, starring Samuel L Jackson doing Samuel L Jackson things for eighty pages? If so, well, Cold Space has plenty of that.
So, Samuel L Jackson is an outlaw who ends up in a space dogfight when he's caught doing... outlaw things. He subdues them, something goes wrong and he crash lands on a fairly desolate planet. Turns out it has a town straight out of the Wild West. This is alright, because we could all use more Space Western Samuel L Jackson in our lives. As you might guess, he plays both sides of the fence, things go wrong and shit starts blowing up.
Cerebral, it is not - or particularly original, as the foreword all but admits it's basically Yojimbo In Space - but I've had worse ways to kill an hour. It's got some good lines peppered throughout and while no scene stands out as truly exceptional, nothing about the story reeks either. It feels like a couple of guys not used to writing comics working out the kinks. Cold Space ends on a note that feels as though this were meant to be the start of something more. The first "episode" if you will.
That's the problem.
One of the practices that has taken root over the past decade is the movie pitch disguised as a comic. It's beyond cynical, essentially using comics as a stepping stone to more "important" things. Mark Millar is the king of it; half the shit he's put out since Wanted end up reading like it was written with a movie adaption in mind*.
Cold Space is nowhere near that bad, but something about it comes off as if the idea didn't start life with a comic in mind. It felt as though this were originally meant to be a pilot for an animated TV miniseries much like Afro Samurai, which Samuel L Jackson and Eric Calderon also co-wrote. It starts with the art, which feels very "animation friendly" and stretches all the way to the ending, which all but states there's more to come**. But this is also simply how it felt to me; the "TV pilot" feel could just come down to the fact that comics aren't exactly what they're used to rather than repurposing an idea meant for another medium.
Regardless, that's not enough to sink it. Oh no. The knockout blow? That one comes from the price. Cold Space is collected in a softcover Digest-esque size and the story is a good eighty pages. Guess what it goes for? If you said eight to ten dollars, you're thinking rationally. Boom wants fifteen. I've got Specials and Anniversary issues with as many pages for less than that. Cold Space is pretty alright, but that's more money than it's worth.
My Opinion: Try It
Cold Space is not great, but it's not particularly bad either. It sits somewhere in the realm of mediocrity, maybe just a hair above that given who is behind it. If you can find it in the library, it might be worth a flip through for you. Purchasing it is another matter entirely; it's just not worth the cash they want for it.
* I imagine what we got for a film version of Wanted didn't help matters. Aside from character names and the closing minutes the amount of things the film had in common with the comic are jack and shit. May as well just write them like you would a movie in that case, eh?
** As of the date I wrote this, I haven't heard anything about a second miniseries. Probably not TOO surprising, as Samuel L Jackson is a busy guy in Hollywood. Regardless, Cold Space feels like something they meant to come back to down the line, so I won't be too awful shocked to hear about a sequel at some point.