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Farscape: Strange Detractors #1

Posted: Monday, May 4, 2009
By: Christopher Power

Keith Decandido
Wil Sliney, Zack Atkinson (c)
BOOM! Studios
It is with great reluctance that I give such a low rating for this book. I want to give a higher rating, because I think that the writer, artist and editor are all doing something very difficult--continuing a cult TV series with a rabid fan base and having to keep them satisfied. Personally, with my limited passion for Farscape, I think they have done an admirable job at doing that. The characters, amazingly, sound like they do in the show. You would swear you can hear Ben Browder and the rest of the former case saying the lines and the figures look like the actors in the show. Finally, in the space scenes you get the epic feel of the vastness of the cosmos, which was something I thought the show captured very well.

However, there are niggling little details that detract from the book and keep it from scoring a higher mark. In the writing, there are some odd choices that are made in the panel sequences. For example, there is a scene where Aeryn and John are having a discussion, and it is interspersed with an argument between two Luxans. I have no idea why it is done like that, I tried to work out what the writer was trying to do; however, it just left me scratching my head and having to read each set of panels again to just get the dialogue.

On the art side, there are several small errors that add up over the course of the book. Most of them have to do with scale and perspective. The panels with the infant Deke being held by Pilot seem in an entirely wrong scale with Pilot being a giant. Iím also rather confused by the height of Jothee. In completely clear panels where there are no boxes, steps or anything else to change his height, he goes from being just barely taller than Crichton to being much taller. They are small complaints, but they pull me out of the art.

The biggest challenge of this book for the writers and artist is the type of story it is trying to tell. It is trying to tell a self-contained story, that can attract both hardcore fans and readers like me that know enough that we are interested, but not so much that we understand the whole universe. There are a number of points, such as the discussion about how to raise Deke, where I have no clue what it means or what is going on. There is something mentioned about a treaty, there are bits and pieces about the economy of the universe, all of which are in themselves good. However, without an in-depth knowledge of the universe someone like me is totally lost.

In summary, the book seems complete with Farscape goodness, even a reference to 20th century television from John Crichton. If you are a hardcore fan, I think it is a good opening chapter. For a casual fan, you will struggle. It will be interesting to see what happens in the second issue.



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