Con Man is the story of the fictional character Wray Nerely, played by Alan Tudyk, which not so subtly reflects Tudyk’s actual experiences as a former character in a cancelled-too-soon, cult-status, sci-fi TV show which we all know so well.
Spectrum is the pretend sci-fi TV show, cancelled too early and now a cult favorite, featured in the Alan Tudyk-created web series, Con Man.
When you are trying to keep track of who plays whom as we descend the rabbit hole of stories within a story, it’s nice to have a little crib sheet. So, here is an actor-to-character list which takes you from REAL PERSON/ACTOR > CON MAN CHARACTER > SPECTRUM CHARACTER. *phew*
Alan Tudyk > Wray Nerely > Cash Wayne
Nathan Fillion > Jack Moore > James Raaker
Liza Lapira > Brenda > Dr. Kym Chu
Henry Rollins > Stutter > Hashen
Skyler Day > Tiffany > Ketheria
Amy Acker > Dawn > Bree
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get back to the story. We rejoin events in the Spectrum universe in pretty much the same place we left off in Issue #0. The group of characters on Earth (Raaker, Cash, Dr. Chu, and Bree) are under attack from a sinister alien threat and converging on the Cheyenne Military Base in a desperate attempt to stage a defense. The non-Earth-based characters (Ketheria, a.k.a. “The Scion,” and Hashen) are also on the move and looking for a pilot to get them out of their current dangerous situation and to a safer, more isolated planetary locale.
We also meet, although somewhat briefly, the actual Spectrum. Currently docked at the Cheyenne base, there’s a bit of mystery surrounding this interstellar ship, as it’s suddenly, and without warning, powering up all on its very own. It’s apparent that Bree has a significant connection to the ship, which will obviously play into her ongoing role in the series.
Most of the action in this issue stays Earth-bound, with Cash’s initial escape from hordes of alien ships and subsequent encounter with Raaker and Chu in expectedly humorous fashion. The overall alien invasion has a lot of Independence Day overtones to it, with hordes of “faceless” alien ships attacking from multiple strategic locations and disparate groups of people trying to fight them off. My expectation is that this initial battle will be won by the invading force, giving our crew of intrepid rebels a reason to jaunt off into the 'verse towards their destined meeting with “The Scion.”
Spectrum continues to display many of the elements of a sci-fi story that interest me, plus the comfortable familiarity of snarky character interplay we had in Firefly. Participating in all of the layers of this 'verse, from Firefly to Con Man to Spectrum, is delightful so far. Character traits are mirrored and spoofed from three different directions, and the possibilities for witty subtext seem endless.
I’m very optimistic that Spectrum’s creative team will continue to take the characters to new and interesting places. I'm still on board after two issues! Let’s get this ship off the ground.