Comic Book Review: Space Precinct Zero by Chris Chandler

So a little about the writer, Chris Chandler. He is a writer and letterer currently based in  Dunfermline, Scotland but originally from Wigan, England and after a really pleasant interaction with him on Twitter I was empowered to check out his comic book series Space Precinct Zero. You can find him and his comic book projects via his website or by following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The artwork was done by Jayson Santos, an illustrator and comic book artist from Brazil, you can find his website here, where you can check out more of his work, and you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Issue #1
The visuals are strong, Santos is clearly a very talented artist, I love that the ship looked really big and clunky, I’m tired of sci-fi where everything is sleek and fluid, I want technology that’s not designed for aesthetics but is functional and the first ship we see is cleared designed for shuttling large groups of people and looks like it can. There’s also subtle link work that makes things look ever so slightly distressed and lived in, much like the world of Star Wars or Red Dwarf, this isn’t trying to look pretty it’s again functional. That being said, you shouldn’t assume therefore that Santos can’t create something aesthetically pleasing, his style has a fluidity and structure and is a large part of why this is already shaping up to be a good comic. I really like the character design, Emay Reiziger is attractive without seeming to pander to the male gaze, and Lucas Karaner and depth and lining to his face, as well as his distinctive face scar which lend, without him having to say anything age and experience. 

In terms of the story, I feel you’re instantly taken in by Emay, the anxiousness as she takes off in the first couple of panels, and being thrown in at the deep end, immediately on full duty when she was expecting desk duty. You feel her worry and it helps to endear the reader to the character. I also like that as soon as she could, she phoned her dad. It’s a very human element that Chandler wrote in, and it helps to flesh out and legitimise the universe we find ourselves in. I also like that we are given motivation for why she’s out here to fight the good fight, and why she feels so anxious. We see incidentally that her father, also an officer, has many accolades for his service lining his shelf, so she presumably has a big legacy to live up to.

I like that things kick off right away, not only does it enhance the fish out of water experience as Emay is thrust immediately into the line of fire but also it immediately brings to focus the threat which is at the core of the comic series. One issue I had if I had to have one is that it’s fairly short sighted of her father to use his rank and influence to get her bumped to active duty, when presumably he knows there is a potential threat out there, only to try and ground her again when she actually does her job. Especially since a few pages earlier he was talking about how he was proud of her and wanted her to push forward and seize opportunities. It’s a small issue, and it doesn’t overly impact my opinion of this first issue which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but I figured I would mention it nonetheless.

Overall issue #1 is strong, it’s interesting and gives you an immediate feel for the world you’re stepping into. It ends on a cliffhanger, and has some really great artwork throughout, specifically the space battle towards the end. Overall this issue gets a 4/5.

*Also it’s not related directly to the story, but I like the little footnotes which explain in universe words or terms, some comics do it, some don’t and I’ve always found it to be a helpful consideration for the reader.

Issue #2
While totally understandable, I had my issues with Emay’s father’s reaction in the previous issue regarding his daughter suddenly being on the front line, especially since it was his own fault. I don’t like that he’s willing to punish other people for his own actions. But it speaks to the character I guess, and just because I don’t like his actions doesn’t mean they aren’t realistic or well written. I also like that it started on him responding to the news, and the cliffhanger. It sustains the tension well and also gives us a grounding emotional moment as we see a father worried for his daughter. 

I talked about it a little above, but I really enjoy the world presented, it doesn’t seem like it’s trying too hard to be like any other sci-fi universe. It obviously has things in common, but it has its own flow and identity, which can be hard considering how overly saturated the genre can be. 

I liked the pacing of this issue more than anything, it balanced up things and worked towards the ending without feeling like it was dangling too many plot points or just racing towards the conclusion. I like Chandler’s writing style, it’s easy to follow and he brings you into the world of Space Precinct Zero with remarkable ease. 

I have to add again that I love the art design. There is a simplicity to it, but also an attention to detail that makes it really inviting and works well with the story. I particularly liked the alien, it was reminiscent of the Grey aliens popularised in fiction, including the 1947 Roswell UFO incident but had a little more character. 

Overall, another strong issue, with our first clear look at the enemy, plenty to feast your eyes on visually and the characters really begin to define themselves completely. I will give it a 5/5.

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