Black Star–Two astronauts battle for survival in sci-fi graphic novel

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A new sci-fi graphic novel arrives from Megascope this week called Black Star, a new spin on the stranded space traveler trope. In Eric Anthony Glover’s debut story with artist Arielle Jovellanos, it’s also a play on the pursuing animal joke: “I don’t need to outrun the tiger, I just need to outrun you,” as two astronauts fight after a disaster in space to get back to their ship and leave the planet, when the ship only has room for one. It’s based on a screenplay by Glover, and that kind of preparation makes for a survival story with all the right action beats. Black Star arrives in comic shops and here at Amazon this week.

The mission is to retrieve samples of an alien flower that may hold the key to saving countless lives. Astronaut/scientist Harper North and her crew travel to Eleos, a planet full of dangers in deep space. But as they approach Eleos, their ship is caught in an asteroid storm and as it hurtles towards the surface, its reserve shuttle detaches, and two survivors remain with one rescue shuttle intact. North thinks she’s the only survivor, until someone starts flashing her images of North’s actions in the crisis. Did she act appropriately or just let everyone die?

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The best components of this tale are Glover’s use of futuristic details, like a life-saving computer program that is able to help North find her way to the shuttle and dodge the planet’s deathly dangers.

This is Enemy Mine in reverse–instead of camaraderie and working together, each must decide whether the mission is more important than their lives, or the life of the other person.  It’s also a good revenge adventure.  Maybe it’s enough to make sure the less worthy person on the trip survives.

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Arielle Jovellanos’ creates a believable world, filled with more general imagery than fine details, coupled with the right color work to set the tone. And her work is consistently strong to the last page.

This graphic novel has some profanity that pulls it into the mature reader category, which unfortunately limits its audience, as the language adds nothing to the story, and this would otherwise make a great read for middle graders and maybe even younger kids.

This is a good gateway story to the dark adventures of Matt Kindt’s Dept.H, and series like Ascender.  It also would make for a solid episode of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.  Black Star is good sci-fi storytelling.  Order it now from Elite Comics or your local comic shop.  It’s also available here at Amazon.

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