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Spaceman Deluxe Edition Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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Now that NASA’s been shut down, space-ape Orson, a genetically modified human bred to withstand the ravages of missions to Mars, lives in slummy exile on the fringes of a flooded Earth. But when a reality-show girl is kidnapped and Orson gets sucked into the mess, the whole world seems to go a little nuts. Though their signature overtones of explicit sex and gruesome violence are on full display, the creative team behind seedy crime-comics classic 100 Bullets displays a deft touch in dealing with calamitous climate change, vapid celebrity worship, hyperaccelerated media mania, and even a sweet (for them) relationship between an innocent girl and damaged brute, with a few blips of King Kong and Planet of the Apes on the radar for good measure. Risso’s gritty artwork hits you where it counts, but what’s most accomplished on Azzarello’s side is the invented dialect that feels so authentically lived in and plausibly derived from slangy mutations and text-message drivel. A complete package in one handy book from a veteran, venerated comics duo. --Ian Chipman
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Spaceman follows the story of Orson, one of a group of genetically engineered astronauts meant to explore Mars. However, most of the story takes place in a flooded, ruined city that, like most of the coastal world, has been overwrought by melting glaciers. Long since returned to Earth after the demise of NASA, Orson is left to pirate and scavenge in order to endure.
Soon, however, Orson finds himself in the middle of a kidnapping, one in which an orphan has been stolen from a reality television show's super-couple, obviously modelled after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The couple are the stars of a show where orphans must compete to be adopted by the celebrities and live a life of leisure.
Before long, Orson is at odds with the only other surviving member of his astronaut crew, Carter. His brother has taken a darker path in life, consequently, and he too becomes involved with the abduction. If the child is to survive, Orson must overcome hauntings from Mars that still disturb him as well as a very present cadre of killers.
Perhaps it helped the book that I suffered from stomach flu while reading it, but the ruin and demise of the world depicted in its pages truly touched a nerve. Risso's gritty, detailed artwork is a perfect match for the tale, and he portrays a horrifyingly civilization that may not be that far off.
Quite honestly, I expected Spaceman to take place more in outer space. I was surprised that the majority of the book unfolded on Earth. I was further surprised that, at its core, the story presented a child kidnaping case.
However, the story is far more than just that. I truly believe Azzarello to be an underestimated writer in today's literary scene. His stories are often violent, alarming, and graphic, but they also touch on themes that apply to our modern life. For example, Azzarello realizes that we are ruining our environment and that repercussions await us all. Those repercussions are evident in Spaceman. He also has noticed that the poor seem to be getting poorer, while the rich get richer. Spaceman delivers a painfully realistic portrayal of what the current trend may yield.
And though it's a matter of much controversy, I find Azzarello's commitment to language commendable in Spaceman. Like his rendition of society, he presents a language that is falling apart, shortened, and slowly dying. Azzarello clearly put a great deal of thought into his vision of our ruined language, and the dedication to his vision reminds me of writers such as Anthony Burgess.
Spaceman is a potentially prophetic science fiction work that offers a troubling glimpse of our destiny. Azzarello grants us a violent adventure with the life of a child hanging in the balance, a societal warning, and a craftsmanship to be celebrated.
~Scott William Foley, author of Andropia
I don't want to spoil it by saying anything so if you really appreciate good graphic novels and like stuff like watchmen, loveless etc, you might dig this.
The writing and art both impress and inspire me. The "space" aspect of this story is actually not what I expected, but more or less traded for equal or greater value as far as I'm concerned; I found myself comparing this story and overall tangibility at least vaguely to "12 Monkeys" (of my Top 5 movies), and "Fluorescent Black," and even a little of the enjoyment I get from the art of Gabriel Bá.
If I'm not being clear, I love this book. This may not be for everybody, but sometimes some things are perfect for some people.
The plot is fantastic. It is sad, but still very heartwarming.
The setting and environment is very interesting.
The dialog is awful. The outcasts/lower cast people use a form of slang that does add to the story, but for me it was too hard to follow. I had to constantly break to translate in my head, making for a very choppy read. Some of it didn't even make sense to me. Instead of laughing with the typical Ha Ha Ha, they used lol lol lol. There is no slang for laughing, it is something you just do. People have been doing it the same for all of time and across all cultures, so for it to suddenly change in this story made no sense. It could be the same way people use lol in text messages and instant messaging, but that would mean no one ever laughed in the entire story.
If it wasn't for this dialect it would easily be five stars.