Space Bandits, Issue One, of Five

Writer Mark Millar

Artist Matteo Scalera

Colors Marcelo Maiolo

Letterer Clem Robins

I don’t know how Mark Millar does it, he consistently puts out fun, original, interesting work. As soon as I opened this book and saw the first page I knew this was going to be a good book. How often do you get to see a spaceship cruising the stars named “The Lionel Richie,” with its bow looking like a giant constructed Lionel Richie head?  I don’t think I can recall that, ever.

The books first half starts out with one of the two protagonists we know of so far, Cody Blue, lounging in a fancy lounge aboard the space-liner, The Lionel Richie, chatting with a very old married couple celebrating their 600th wedding anniversary. She soon pulls out a lizard that she can communicate with telepathically, as can all her race, and puts everyone in the lounge asleep so that her crew of bandits can rob everyone without violence. You get a hint of her fate when she tells her crew that everyone is asleep and unharmed when one of her bandits, Bowser, seems upset that the passengers are safe.

Tragically for Cody, she’s betrayed immediately when she and her crew get back to their hideout. She’s shot point-blank in the chest and left for dead so that her share can be divided amongst those who’d just turned-coat. 

The second half of the book focuses on Thena Khole, another criminal wanted by the authorities galaxy-wide, who’s been running a scheme with her boyfriend. The boyfriend poses as a bounty hunter, turns in Thena, gets the reward money, then proceeds to free her from the jail he’d just sent her to. 

Unfortunately for Thena, on her seventh attempt of the scheme, her boyfriend fails to show up and free her.  Thena realizes that she’s been stabbed in the back as the prisoner-transport she rides to her next destination exits the atmosphere of the planet she was turned-in on, her boyfriend should have rescued her before that point.

Both Thena and Cody end up on a prison colony to serve their sentences working as miners. The prison colony is pretty awesome, it’s called “The Crustacean,” in the book it’s described as: A hundred-mile sentient worshiped as a god, now dead and being mined by thousands of the universe’s most dangerous prisoners.  The page showing The Crustacean was great, it looks exactly like it sounds.

This book was very good, great even, in every metric when it comes to comics. Its well written, has interesting characters, original concepts, and the story drew me in immediately. The 1980’s vibe sprinkled throughout the book is really well done and clever, from the ship designs and names, to geographical sites, one of which was named the fashionable “Molly Ringwald District,” Ha! I loved that.

The art in this book really stood out for me above anything else. It looks like if you took the different styles from the books “Tokyo Ghost,” “Low,” and “Descender,” and mashed them together into something original and new. This is a book full of exquisite art with top-notch colorwork bringing everything together. I think I spent a good 40 minutes reading this first issue because I kept going back and looking at panels I especially liked.

I’m eager to read the next issue, you should you read this first book and be as eager as I am. Put away your phone and…

Read it!

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