Thursday, May 26, 2016

Faster Than Light Vol 1 Review

Faster Than Light (Vol 1) from the Shadowline imprint of Image Comics -

     "Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state and more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole."
-William S. Burroughs

     In the not too distant future, a brilliant scientist, Dr. Saul Fredricks, has cracked the problem of long-distance space travel. He solved the FTL problem; we can now travel faster than the speed of light itself. This has made interplanetary spaceflight a reality, and put interstellar travel within the grasp of humanity's trembling hands. William Forest is the Captain of the spaceship, Discovery; his task: the first long-range exploration mission. Captain Forest, his friend, Dr. Malcolm Ritchings, his salty first-officer, Commander Grissom, his chief engineer, Sally, and the rest of his bold crew, are making the last preparations for the most daring leap that mankind has ever taken. However, unbeknownst to the crew, Captain Forest has a secret side-mission, a mission so important that the very survival of humanity hinges upon its success. Captain Forest's secret mission is undergirded by support from his pal, Rick, Captain of a another ship, a secret ship, with a much shorter, but equally dangerous mission: first contact with bizarre alien life-forms that could be valuable allies in the dark times ahead... You see, in the 1940s, we received a transmission that not only gave us the keys to FTL travel (finally deciphered by Dr. Fredricks), and amazing technological advancements, but it also gave us an ominous warning: "It is too late for us. Use our knowledge and flee your world. They are coming..."

    Brian Haberlin pulls double duty on this fun sci-fi/horror adventure - he both writes and illustrates the entire volume  which collects issues 1 through 5 of the series. At first glance, Haberlin's story shows many similarities to Gene Roddenberry's creation, Star Trek, yet a deeper look reveals dissimilarities that make them stand apart. Most notably, Star Trek has an optimistic streak running through it that is a light-year wide. As a Trekkie, I have always loved that about Star Trek. Haberlin's Faster Than Light replaces that optimism with paranoia, and it's easy to understand why, as they are beginning their journey scrambling under the imminent threat of destruction at the hands of an unknown, world-destroying foe. Honestly, Captain Forest and his crew don't stand out as much as Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise; that is part of the appeal of these characters. They seem like real, everyday people who become pretty extraordinary as they rise to meet the threats they encounter on their maiden voyage into the cold reaches of our solar system, taking on a monstrous enemy with only their human ingenuity, and pure, raw courage. This comic has everything a fan of old-school sci-fi would love...Sure, the solutions to some of the crew's problems seem to be overly simple, but that doesn't take  away from the journey. And believe me, this IS a journey.  

   By the way, Haberlin offers an app that allows the reader to turn parts of the adventure into a 3D experience unlike any I have ever seen before in comics. Take a look here, and check out the cool video: Faster Than Light 3D. Now THAT is pretty awesome. 

   What's even more awesome? According to, Faster Than Light is being developed for television: Faster Than Light Developed For TV.

RATING: An enthusiastic 10 out of 10.

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