Take a trip to the farthest reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy to find some familiar ideas played out in fun new combinations.
Heathers meets Dungeons and Dragons in space — that's the basic idea behind this pastiche-minded independent comic from a publisher determined to make its mark. A trio of powerful young women are training at an elite school for diplomats, spies, and assassins, but they break all the rules and are ranked at the bottom of their class. After they are held back from graduating, their only hope is the last person they want: a sapien, a human sharpshooter from an unnamed colony. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the galaxy, a powerful cadre of antagonists seek artifacts to gain more power.
While there are some cliches in this work, seeing so many of them thrown together at the same time has a certain surprising appeal. For example, the team's telepathic science expert has a power somewhere between Connor Kent and Toph Beifong, and that's a pleasant surprise. The artwork has panache and an unusual style that might entice fans of the current Power Rangers comics, thanks to the visual storytelling from a broad creative team. At the same time, the script does a good job of balancing setting up the tension at this elite Tidereus Academy (giving a Toros vs. Clovers kind of vibe for competing elite squads) while doing the big bad as a B plot.
Whether or not there is something underneath the barrage of familiar vibes — the quick to anger mechanically minded one (Fiona from Burn Notice), the naive newbie (Orange Is The New Black, Orphan Black), and so on — remains to be seen but this book can easily fit in on the stands next to offerings from mid-ranked publishers like Action Lab or Boom! Studios. If you're looking for some fun action with a few clever twists, this might get your attention. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Hidden away in a secret sector of space is Tidereus Academy, an all-girl military school built into a large asteroid. The school teaches intergalactic diplomacy, assigning small groups of students, called Projects, on missions to deal with various conflicts within the galaxy. Of these groups, Project 45 is the most troubled, consisting of Beatrix- their stern leader with a dark side, Aestas (the mysterious, silent telepath) and Taura (the hotheaded mechanical genius). The newest addition to the group is Carmen, a human sharpshooter transferring from another colony. Her talents should help her fit in, but will she ever gain the acceptance of the others?
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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