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‘Warship Jolly Roger:’ Trade Paperback Review

You can’t take the sky from me.

I know I’ve gotten the Browncoats’ attention, and Warship Jolly Roger should have it, as well.  Spinning a tale of redemption and daring do, Sylvain Runberg has gathered the kind of core characters that can interest and fascinate anyone, while Miquel Montllo brings animation-caliber artwork to the game and gives it a beautiful and moving sense of life.  Four convicts who owe nothing to each other must find a way to survive and even thrive while they deal with the fallout from their lives and their removal from it.

This is a crew that any fan of Firefly or Battlestar Galactica will thoroughly enjoy: a captain whose drive, focus, and gravitas help to continue on under the weight of his sins; a wild layabout whose flirtations with morality never get in the way of him getting what he wants or needs; a rebel with mommy issues for a cause that borders on the fanatical; and a mysterious young man with a power that goes beyond comprehension.  All we’re missing is a guy in a fat suit for no purpose and a brilliant young doctor to guide the weird kid.  There’s an incredible chemistry between them all, and I’m referring more to the severe exothermic kind, like when phosphorus meets oxygen. (Look it up, kiddos.)  The outside forces are dire, but in the classic Star Trek fashion, it’s more about the crew’s handling of the situation more so than the situation itself driving the narrative.

This book is gorgeous.  Every panel looks like a still from an animated movie, with incredible attention to detail providing an insanely immersive visual component to the story.  Every character shows the time and care that was put into designing and motivating them, with incredible moments highlighting each in turn, whether for good or ill.  The action is tense and exciting, and other than the fact that paint seems to drip “down” in zero-g, the world is consistent and well thought out with ship layouts that are all at once familiar and new and seem to take on a life of their own in majesty and power.  There’s visual poetry happening here, and it’s really enjoyable to see.

This is the great kind of space adventure that will make you yearn for the black as much as any of the mega-franchises that we laud today.  With a very human-driven story, there’s much more here than just blasters and fighter crafts; there’s intrigue and surprise to make the story become independent of the setting in the best way. The technology may be different, but we’re still fundamentally the same.  Jump for the stars when this hits shelves. You won’t regret it.

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