THE EXPANSE #1
Chrisjen Avasarala, the former longtime Secretary-General of the United Nations, has found herself relegated to Luna after losing the latest elections... and she doesn't plan on going down without a fight. So when former Martian marine Bobbie Draper brings her intel on an intergalactic black market weapons ring, Avasarala sees a chance to reclaim her former political position of power through a clandestine operation. But as Draper digs deeper into this secret cabal, she soon realises she's in deeper than she predicted... and Chrisjen is just that bit too late to warn her off.
I have to admit the debut of The Expanse five years ago kind of passed me by. With it’s film noir beginnings, political backdrop and hints of space opera the story lent itself inevitable comparison to Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica and of course Total Recall. And so it seemed to me like I’d seen it all before, so I have to admit the prospect of this title didn’t overly enthuse me. So I was completely new to the whole premise, as well as the characters. But having my arm twisted (cheers Cody) I took it on and am glad I did. Right from the introduction of Bobbie Draper I realised here was a character I could invest in and the plot quickly had me hooked.
A woman who puts men directly in their place and immediately makes it clear she has regrets, she seemed a natural fit for the cold mechanical arena she inhabits. Followed swiftly by Chrisjen Avasarala, who I soon found out is played by Shohreh Aghdashloo in the show, an actress I hugely admire. Here is another no nonsense woman, clearly a political big wig, who does not mince her words. The struggle she faces in balancing her family life and that of her duty is immediately obvious and so she too kept me invested in the unfolding story.
And the character driven writing of Corinna Bechko (Green Lantern: Earth One) isn’t the only thing pulling me in with the gravitational force of Jupiter. The art of Alejandro Aragon (Resonant) plays a big part in this too, depicting Draper going underground to sniff out what’s going on and immediately falling into a gunfight and going on the run. And with the added joy of Francesco Segala in charge of colouring and lending the right theme to each colour pallete. With the wild frontier outlaw element and the abandonment of the Mars terraforming project, this to me is beginning to look more like a pioneer epic akin to Firefly. And this intrigues me even more. The dusty redundant atmosphere of the moon with it’s broken down equipment, contrasted with the deep reds of Mars and it’s huge barren outcroppings are instantly recognisable as being two diametrically opposed landscapes and make it all as unwelcoming as space should be.
Not to be outdone by the settings W Scott Forbes also gives the cover some perfectly pensive drama with our two lead characters shown in full regalia and informing the characters perfectly in a well lit moody portrait. And so I get pulled in directly to the ongoing saga, despite being a complete noob. Set as it is between Season 4 and Season 5 of the hit Amazon show, it quickly has me deeply intrigued and keen to blast off on another new space epic. By the end of the final panel I am not only eager to pick up the next issue, but will also be binge watching the whole series and looking out for the previous four issue origin issues from Boom! Studios. And with news of a sixth and final season it has all the hallmarks of a satisfying conclusion and is shaping up to be a show I will definitely reinvest in, even as late to the party as I am. Next issue I think I’ll also have some Gustav Holst playing in the background. The Planets Suite. Op 32 Mars The Bringer of War seems appropriate.
Did I think I had time for another space epic in my life? No. Was I wrong? Hells yeah!!
The Expanse #1: Caught Between a Red Rock and Cold Hard Space
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 7/107/10
- Color - 7/107/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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