Sea of Stars is a new science fiction series from Image Comics. Sea of Stars #1 comes from the creative team of writers Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum, artist Stephen Green, colorist Rico Renzi, and letterer Jared K. Fletcher.
Sea of Stars #1 opens with an image of a lone ship cruising through outer space. Kadyn, one of it’s occupants, is a nine-year-old boy going on a job with his father. The ship is hauling freight of exhibits from a destroyed museum. Kayden’s father, Gil, pilots a ship that is part sailboat, part semi-truck. Due to the recent loss of the family matriarch, Gil was forced to bring Kayden for a job. As a result, Kayden is bored and there isn’t much Gil can do about it.
Soon Kayden has donned a space suit to go look at the low atmosphere contents of the ship’s hold. He sees wondrous things from all over the galaxy. But, being a nine-year-old, he isn’t particularly impressed. Meanwhile, the ship (aptly named the Porkchop Comet) has detected something. A large vessel is inbound and Gil’s attempts to hail it have all been for naught. When the approaching object finally arrives, it brings calamity with it. Soon Gil and Kadyn are trapped in a fight for their lives in the cold, empty vastness of space.
From the first page of Sea of Stars #1, writers Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum create a believable, and relatable story. Despite the futuristic sci-fi setting, this story is immediately established as one about loss and coping. Gil and Kadyn struggle to communicate after the loss of the unnamed mother. Kadyn is distant, and Gil clearly desperately wants to bond with him even if he doesn’t know how. This is handled subtly by Aaron and Hallum, who both have a superb ability to craft realistic dialogue.
That isn’t to say that everything is dour or depressing. The first lines in this issue establish the humorous side of these characters as well. Mixed in with that are several winks and nods to pop culture (the ship is called the Porkchop Comet). All of these things blend together to help make a very grounded science fiction adventure. That is until everything goes wrong around the halfway mark.
Normally I would separate the artist and colorist to talk about their work at this point. However, everything that Stephen Green and Rico Renzi have done in Sea of Stars #1 is so symbiotic that I feel it would be a disservice. From the sweeping splash pages of space with planets and galaxies to the on-deck conversations, every panel is a work of art. Clearly heavily inspired by the retro sci-fi novel covers of the 70s and 80s, their work together in this comic is brilliant. Even if the story were not compelling, it would be difficult not to give a recommendation for this based on the art alone.
The lettering by Jared K. Fletcher is well done, albeit rather unique. The dialogue is well-placed, clean, and easy to read. But the sound effects are limited. At first it seemed as though this was a minimalist effort. This lasted only until the realization that much of the action comes in the noiseless vacuum of space. There is no need for sound effects, and there are no sounds. Even when something happens to necessitate lettering on the page, it is presented as hollow. As if the action carries it’s own weight, but still happens with no sound to accompany it.
Overall, Sea of Stars #1 is a strong first issue. Plenty of time is spent establishing the emotional stakes of the rest of the series, which I appreciate. I am fascinated with seeing where this series will go. If you enjoy science-fiction or are looking for a good way to dip your toes in, this is a great series to check out.
Sea of Stars Issue #1 is available now.
Rating: 4.5/5 Loads of space freight