REVIEW: ‘The Expanse,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Expanse #1 - But Why Tho?The Expanse #1 is published by BOOM! Studios, written by Corinna Bechko, art by Alejandro Aragon, colors by Francesco Segala and Letters by Ed Dukeshire. Bobbie Draper is burning the midnight oil, working long hours and feeling like she is getting nowhere. Meanwhile, on another heavenly body, Madam Avasarala has been sent into a virtual exile on the moon, overseeing a project she has little to no interest in. How are these stories linked? That’s a good question.

It seems the goal of every science fiction and fantasy series out there is to become a major cross-media franchise. To exist in every popular space there is. Movies, tv, books, comics: you name it and they want their franchise to exist in it. There are, however, problems with this approach. Firstly, that is a lot to keep up with. Plus, many fans may feel pressured to purchase something that is in a media they have no interest in.

The other problem with this approach is that it can lead to new material that, if not approached with proper care, can be completely incomprehensible to a new consumer who happens to come across the franchise when it invades their preferred medium. This was my experience with The Expanse #1.

As someone whose only experience with the franchise of The Expanse is reading the first book many years ago, I came into this issue effectively blind. And to be honest, I went out the exact same way. I understood most of the concepts talked about, but I have no context for any measure of importance. There are characters here who act like what they are doing is boring and irrelevant, while others act differently toward the same job. Is one or the other right? I have no idea.

This story just drops you into its world and never explains a single thing about anything. No internal monologues reviewing what the character is dealing with, or why it may be important. I feel like I started watching a tv show on episode 12. When you’ve gotten deep enough in that it just assumes you know, or else why would you be tuning in now.  So with that in mind, I’ll try to talk about what I think of The Expanse #1’s story. Just forgive me if I come across as a bit lost.

The Expanse #1 primarily focuses on two protagonists: Bobbie Draper and Madam Avasarala. While one is on Mars and the other on the Moon, they both seem linked by a common emotional state. They both seem frustrated to no end at their current situations in life. While frustration with work is a fairly relatable concept, my ability to sympathize is somewhat stymied by the fact that I’m not completely sure what exactly either of them does. By the end of the book, I got some rough details, but some clarity would be great.  While the reasons for The Expanse #1’s character frustrations are not truly clear, writer Bechko does a good job scripting their characters to give authenticity to these feelings.

The art in the story further helps deliver the emotions of the characters as artist Aragon and colorist Segala combine their efforts to deliver moody panels that reflect the negativity felt in the script.

Lastly, we have Dukeshire’s letter work. The lettering here does a great job of keeping this dialogue-heavy issue running as smoothly as possible.

So, when all is said and done, The Expanse #1 delivers a character-driven narrative that is lost on any that aren’t familiar with the wider story. Whether or not it even fits well into that wider story, I cannot say. But those who are big into the franchise are the only ones who might get what this story is trying to deliver.

The Expanse #1 ‘is available December 16th wherever comics are sold.

The Expanse #1
2.5

TL;DR

So, when all is said and done, The Expanse #1 delivers a character-driven narrative that is lost on any that aren’t familiar with the wider story. Whether or not it even fits well into that wider story, I cannot say. But those who are big into the franchise are the only ones who might get what this story is trying to deliver.