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The High Ways [Kindle Edition]

John Byrne , Leonard O'Grady , Justin Eisinger , Alonzo Simon , Tom B. Long
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Humanity has not yet reached for the stars, but the Solar System is still a busy, exciting, and sometimes very dangerous place, as young Eddie Wallace is about to discover, when he joins the crew of a freighter that hauls cargo along THE HIGH WAYS.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 63919 KB
  • Print Length: 104 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (July 31, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D59O946
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,620 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Dated Feel But Unmistakably Byrne July 17, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The High Ways is one of comics legend John Byrne's latest books. Which he both writes and draws. Which is either good or bad depending on how much you like John Byrne I suppose.

There's no doubt that his impact on comics in the 70s, 80s and 90s was substantial. But his visibility has dropped significantly over the years although he has continued to work primarily at smaller publishers like IDW. To my mind this book shows both the good and bad points of Byrne's more recent work.

In terms of story telling clarity and just basic cartooning The High Ways is hard to beat. It's easy to follow, there's no confusion about what's going on or who is who. The man undoubtedly knows his craft. The book looks like a John Byrne book in every way you might expect.

But that's also a problem because this book looks dated. The panel layouts, the vast numbers of word balloons, the character's clothing. It feels like something from the 80s or early 90s. And this is 2013.

That dated feel extends to the dialogue as well. Everything is explained. Everything. Part of it may be Byrne wanting to emphasize the details, risks and complexities of space flight, but it reminded me of a 1950s style sci-fi pulp novel.

The notion that even a rookie navigator would be so ill prepared for space that every single little thing would have to be explained to him in detail doesn't really stand up. And yet that's exactly what we are presented with.

The story begins as a "Welcome to space rookie!" adventure and then we start to get mysteries, twists and more twists. So it develops nicely and keeps you guessing effectively. But at the same time we get no depth to the characterization at all. We really don't feel for any of these characters even when they are betrayed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In the future, many people will be able to predict the future with astonishing accuracy, while being simultaneously surprised by it.

This is the only explanation for much of the plot of The High Ways. Near the end of the story, it's revealed a character has made a huge sacrifice (prior to the start of the story) "just in case" things went south. Unless "Space Law" allows for take-backs because someone had his fingers crossed, then this is akin to a character deciding to cut off his foot after getting a scratch "just in case" it gets infected. The story goes to great pains to inform us that he didn't think anything even remotely illegal might be going on, but he just so happens to have this rather drastic solution in place at the end of the story "just in case".

The true shame of it is that the only reason the drastic solution needed to be taken is a line of exposition delivered only a handful of panels earlier. To avoid torturing logic at an Olympic level, the author needed only to go back a page and present a sequence of events that flowed logically instead of setting up hoops for his characters to laboriously jump through.

This sort of thing is by no means an isolated event as the story is loaded with twists and turns, which ultimately links a group of regular space truckers to a galaxy-wide threat via a gossamer thin thread which depends on every major character either having a secret or not to being who they appear to be.

The story almost works in spite of itself. The nonsensical twist-based plotting almost works as a parody of serial story-telling where the likes of Dan Dare are forced to navigate an increasingly complex series of events in the pursuit of his ultimate goal...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Way Out There June 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Eddie Wallace takes a job as navigator of a space freighter and finds out that his first trip will be an eight month haul to Europa. When they finally arrive, it seems that someone has pulled a hoax on his captain and their contract was a joke - there is no delivery for them to pick up and take back to Earth. They refuel the ship and leave the research station only to find a stowaway in one of their cargo pods. Just as they are dealing with that, they get hijacked. It seems that the crew is going from bad to worse to even worse than that. This has bits that remind me of "Moonraker" and "Outlander." There are secret identities, scams, mysterious motives, double-crosses, ships, space stations, alien life forms...The action and intrigue is nonstop. It is definitely for mature audiences due to some of the language and sexual content.

If you like a spy thriller/action/space opera combo, then give this a try.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun in a familiar way August 19, 2013
By Alt
John Byrne has been around for a long time, and I've been a John Byrne fan for a long time. I'm also a fan of classic space opera, so The High Ways was a good match for me, even if it didn't hold any big surprises.

Jack "Don't Call Me Captain" Cagney and Marilyn Jones are partners in a freight-hauling business. Eddie "Sprout" Wallace is their new navigator. They're making a run to Europa. Trouble starts when they arrive at the station and discover that nobody requisitioned their services. Sprout sees a naked man running around outside the station (where the temperature and atmosphere don't lend themselves to being naked), but that's not half as strange (or nearly as fun) as his sexual encounter with a woman who later denies being with him. Anyway, they go outside and find these creatures with mouths that look like ... ah, maybe that's just my nasty imagination running away with me. Check it out and draw your own conclusions. All of this eventually turns into a crime story set in space.

The High Ways has the typical features of a space opera: the gruff captain, the lesson in how to walk on a space station, the casual attitude toward nudity in close quarters, the threat of space pirates, the freight haulers traveling to distant moons. The underlying story at least has a small surprise or two as we learn unexpected truths about the characters. This is conventional space opera, not exceptional in any way but fun in a familiar way.
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