by Mike Carey
Reviewed by Jef Burnham
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Virgin Comics (Dan Dare) and SciFi Channel (responsible for Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis and Tin Man) have teamed up to create multimedia storylines originating in comic books. Their first creation to come from the alliance is a monthly series called The Stranded.
Though the artwork is slightly reminiscent of such indie titles from my childhood as Solar: Man of the Atom and everything else released by Valiant Comics, it’s only a passing complaint, as the coloring and background work far surpasses anything they ever did. In the first issue, we are given a lot of background in only a few pages, which shows that creator/writer Mike Carey (X-Men, Ultimate Fantastic Four) has a great deal of respect for his audience’s ability to process information.
The story of The Stranded is that some ten years ago a race of super-powered beings fled to Earth from a force as yet unknown to the reader, and implanted themselves in our society by rewriting everyone’s memories, including their own. Now, a mysterious being in a box, with the aid of a man named Janus, is hunting down the unaware super folk. Only a psi-lord named Tamree can save them by tearing down the false memories they have lived with, realizing their supernatural potentials.
I found two aspects of the book notably amusing. First, Janus’ legion of robots look a lot like the robots from I, Robot with Will Smith, except they have computer screen faces that display an image resembling the creepy-faced children in The Aphex Twins’ music video for “Come to Daddy” (obscure, I know, but I thought it added a layer of creepiness to the robots). Second, Tamree must seek aid from a Professor Zante, who is all-knowing, but deceased. Before his death, Zante, the insane genius he was, had a piece of his brain grafted into a rat so that he may live on, as well as other creatures I’m sure we’ll meet along the way.
The first issue was released in December of 2007, the second late in January and they have yet to release the third, so if you want to follow the flagship series of SciFi/Virgin Comics, now is the best time to get caught up, while there are only two back issues to worry about.
Jef Burnham is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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