SPACE 1999: Aftershock and Awe by Andrew E.C. Gaska

IMG_2540Saw this in my used book store and was immediately wondering what the heck it was about. I love anything to do with space and this book certainly had my interest, and there was no way I was leaving the store without adding this one to my collection.

There is too much to say about Andrew E. C. Gaska, so I will let him do the talking. Check out my interview with the Andrew here.

The story opens up with a crew of humans on a base on the moon. The moon base is used for a variety of different functions, but one of the main purposes is for the disposal of nuclear waste, which is kept on two separate locations on the dark side of the moon. There is something wrong with the nuclear disposal sites that has resulted in the deaths of a few members of the crew. While the base is in somewhat of a state of chaos while everyone tries to figure out what is happening, the nuclear IMG_2563waste is becoming increasingly unstable. Within a matter of hours the a series of catastrophic events take place. A nuclear explosion the likes of which have never been seen occurs on the moon. The explosion is powerful enough to knock the moon out of orbit and send it hurling though space, making it a makeshift spaceship for the survivors on the base. Earth is now moonless, and the destruction that is left in its absence is devastating.

I really had almost no expectations when I started this one, but it certainly took me by surprise. It is really hard to go into anything with no expectations, but if you can accomplish this then what ever you are reading or watching always seems to be better. But as with anything there is always a fine line, this could very well backfire and having no expectations could lead to whatever you are doing being the worst thing ever. There are some really cool elements at play with this story, plus a lot of IMG_2562things that I did not see coming, which almost always makes for a good read. I have to say that from where the story started to where it ended I honestly had no idea that is where the it was going. This is one story that really surprised me, which does not happen all that often.

One thing I did not like about the story was how slow it started off. To me I felt there was too much talking in the beginning. The pages were bogged down with way too many words in my opinion. For me I felt there was way too much of the characters thoughts portrayed in this first chapter, which is not a bad thing, but it did bring the story to a crawl to start. The story is broken down into, I think, three or four different chapters. The first is the longest in terms of pages and what takes the longest to read. I hate to say it but I actually contemplated putting this book down on more than one occasion because of the IMG_2561lengthy speeches and thought bubbles. It was just way too slow to start, but I powered through, and that slow build was well worth it.

Despite the slow start by the end of the first chapter I was totally hooked. The remainder of the book you get to see a world without a moon and the devastation that is caused in its absence. It is truly incredible the amount of destruction something like that could cause, and really makes you think how lucky, in so many ways, we are to have the moon. It sounds silly but without the moon life on Earth would be considerably more difficult, so tell the moon thank you sometime.

I really liked how the characters on Earth were intermingled with those on the moon base. I contribute the excellent IMG_2560character building to the slow start, I know, I know, it’s complicated. It is both good and bad. The characters in this book are great and you really get a good feel for them while reading. Plus it is really cool to see how their stories play out in the wake of all the destruction. There is also some very interesting political ideas jockeying for power which adds a whole other element to the story. Again, this book covers so many different bases and ideas that makes for a wonderful read for any science fiction fan.

While I was reading the story I was also doing a bit of research and I found that this was actually an old TV show from the IMG_25421970’s. Apparently it was quite popular and Boom! Studios has since bought the rights and began writing comics for the title. There are a hand full of trades out that I assume continue this same story line. What I think was interesting was that when I started reading the first chapter the artwork was very nostalgic for a few reasons. The designs of the clothes was very 1970-ish, and just the whole thing reminded me of an old sifi movie that depicted the future. Then I found out that it was an old TV show I could not help but laugh. The artwork in this first chapter totally nailed the 70’s aspect, it was really pretty amazing and a nice nod to the fans of the show.

There are a few different art styles in the book, basically one for each chapter, which does make for an interesting read. TheIMG_2556 first chapter artwork gives the reader the nostalgia feel from the 70’s that I mentioned above. The background is full of the little dots that old comics use to use for color. I am certain this was done on purpose. The artwork is mostly traditional but still not the normal comic artwork you are used to seeing. I felt it worked very well with the overall feel and tone of the first chapter. The artwork in the following chapters if somewhat similar and very cool. It almost reminds me of a less refined Alex Ross style, and I mean that as a compliment. Ross is the best and the artwork is very similar to what he produces. There are some stunning visuals in the second half of this book that are spectacular because of the artwork and of course because they show some awesome destruction from the moon suddenly going missing. The page layouts are some of the best I have seen in a while. It seems that every page is different and uniquely designed so that you get a totally different visual experience when you turn the page. This must have taken quite a bit of time to design each page, but the payoff was totally worth it. I have to give major props to the artist on this one. Page layouts are something that is often overlooked but when they are done right they can be spectacular. There are IMG_2555quite a few full page splashes that create some cool scenes. The colors are great as well. I honestly have no complaints with any of the artwork throughout this story. I am usually against switching styles every chapter, but in this case I did not mind one bit.

I recommend you checking this one out. The slow start and heavy wordage of the first chapter may deter you, but power through it and you will not be disappointed. This is a really good story overall, one that kind of reminds me of a movie. There are so many different ideas and aspects of the story that there is something for everyone. I am very curious how this story will turn out, so I will be checking out the other trades for sure. This is one of the better overall sif stories I have read in comic IMG_2554form. Check this out if you get a chance, especially if you were a fan of the old TV show.

Manik

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