The future is now.
With space travel advancing to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, the technology for discovery advanced faster than the infrastructure could keep up with it. While violence is thriving and corporations are preying upon the disenfranchised, one unexpected victim of the new status quo is the postal service…and mailmen are about to become the deadliest in the universe.
Space Bastards is the cultivation of industry giants coming together to construct a reality based in blood, booze, and rock-n-roll. Writers Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey exude a discernable care for their anthology masterpiece, creating not only a graphic novel full of content but a site dedicated to the world-building of their paragon.
This graphic novel reads differently than other linear compilations, with four stories coming together to complete the full vision of this bleak future. The premise for payment is simple; whoever delivers the package gets the cash, and they can use any means necessary to do so. Roy Sharpton, the sordid Postmaster first recruits convicts to his company, promising an outlet for destruction beyond the reach of the police. The next to come were the desperate, men like Chuck Wagon who needs something more to life than the bottom of a whiskey bottle. Finally, men like ex-accountant David Proton, desperately seek out employment in a terrible economy with no hope for financial relief.
The believability of Sharpton's charismatic recruitment practices are shocking and applicable to the current economic climate. He speaks to the broken down who time and time again have been disappointed by those around them, desperate to exist in a world that makes no space for them.
Space Bastards' artwork, like its story, exists in four parts. The first half of the trade will look familiar to fans of The Boys and Transmetropolitan, as artist and co-creator Darick Robertson easily takes on the most violent part of the book. His clean style and gritty characters merry well into the universe, with visual sleaziness bursting from each panel. Simon Bisley, of Lobo and Judge Dread fame, succeeds in the tantalizing tale of Chuck Wagon's escape from the demons of alcoholism and into his place in Sharpton's corporation. The beauty of Bisley's artwork marries into the sinister delusions of a very ill man, with the art bleeding from one panel into the other and leaving the eyes discombobulated. Finally, Gabriel Bautista (GABO) from Elephantmen closes out the trade with the deadly first days of hopeful mailmen, documenting a death more gruesome than the last. The bubbly art style brings a levity to each terrible demise, evening deserving an audible "d'aww" as one woman gives a little smile while running her competition clean through with her fist.
There is a special vibe that comes from a collection of stories when everyone involved cares about their content, and this is clear with Space Bastards. Unsure at first, I was won over with the larger than life characters and art changes that fit the subject matter. Space Bastards is currently only available in a Kickstarter campaign, and in the final leg of their fundraiser with less than 24 hours left, a cool $30 guarantees this hardcover copy for any curious reader craving something new.
Parcel Received. Space Bastard out.