'Dark Matter Volume 1: Rebirth' - Advance TPB Review


Dark MatterAfter reading the first volume of Dark Matter, I am not entirely sure what kind of story it is going to be and that is a good thing. There are the obvious comparisons that a lesser writer might make, so let’s start with those. I got a strong Firefly vibe from this book. The characters aren’t immediately identifiable and lovable, like Whedon’s, but the heart is there. There was also a little bit of Alien, in the very specific sense that this crew wakes up and immediately has to try to figure out what they should do. Really, only the first act of Alien makes an appearance here. Now, let’s discuss the book itself.

The crew of an interstellar ship must come to terms with the fact that they just woke up without their memories. The story plays out from there, with the shooting, murderous androids, and huge moral conflicts that you might expect. So far, so standard. The thing is, in this book, the stuff that could easily be the most generic and unoriginal nonsense works well. This is partly a result of the writing, and partly the twists on the formula. There are some aspects of this story which fall flat for me. For example, the crew is almost comically better at all forms of combat and piloting than anybody else we see in this book. This is perhaps the only real negative I saw in the comic.

This is a book that really trades on the fact that you know how sci-fi works. There isn’t a single aspect of this book that doesn’t appear in another sci-fi story. This is not a negative. Sci-fi that is divorced from everything that came before is just as likely to be Dune as The Fifth Element. The thing about a genre is that it provides a handy set of tools and shortcuts that challenge the writer to do something new. This is a story that does many cool and new things with an old, well-loved toolbox.

The end of this book left it wide open to move in several different paths. There is the opportunity for this to be the Bourne Identity in space or something more akin to the aforementioned Firefly. I honestly couldn’t tell you if this book is heading in one of those directions or one of countless others. I do know that I will be interested to see where it goes.

Ultimately, I enjoyed this comic. There weren’t any real problems, and it was clearly a loving homage to the genre work that came before it. I think this book stands on its own, because it knows it’s also standing on some mighty tall shoulders. While this book clearly knows where its roots are, it never seemed derivative.

Four References to Great Sci-Fi out of Five.



Last modified on Friday, 21 June 2013 01:34

Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon
Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein
Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python

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