Written by Kelly Bender
Art by Brian Balondo
Inks by Christian Docolomansky
Colour by Laura Lee
Lettering by Nick J Shaw
Recently, Canadian indie writer Kelly Bender from across the pond in Singapore sent me a Sci-Fi tale of space mercenaries aboard their ship Starburn.
It is hard to do something original in this genre, but the ones that do it right make for something special.
Star Wars, Dune, Firefly, Titan AE – even the Chronicles of Riddick are all highly enjoyable gritty space adventures in worlds that seem almost more real than our own.
Starburn for me gets this and delivers a universe that I surely want to see more of.
The crew are interesting and well developed quickly and naturally within the story. The diversity of the race of the crew is interesting but not overwhelming and the nature of the human race (or at least the two aboard this ship) is simply established in the first issue.
What I particularly enjoyed was that the tough and glib male human has subtle but noticeable hidden depths of heroism and intelligence. The female, whilst illiterate, is a fantastic engineer AND one of the strongest members of the team, whilst also being feminine and kick ass. The character designs are simple and interesting, not only that but consistent.
The artwork is traditional and somewhere between simple and wonderfully detailed, the action pops, the panels remain interesting. They know when to use interesting backdrops and when to lose them altogether.
The first world we are shown in this series (a desert prison world) is developed well within the story and without need of trawling descriptions. What we have here is no typical indie, it is a high quality Sci-Fi adventure. This is better than some of the big name stuff I have seen recently, it is simple but grabbing, well executed and professional.
They also know how to do their cliff hangers! I am on a knife’s edge waiting for #3 now and Kelly is not afraid to pack a punch with his story direction! The only thing I have to say against this issue is that it begins with the crew in separate locations after issue 1’s cliff hanger. The trouble is it is not clear where everyone is, unless you read issue 1.
You know what that means? You should go and read issue one!!!
I really enjoyed this comic and look forward to checking out some more of Kelly’s work. Especially if he continues to use this art team.
Issue one is available on Comixology now – Starburn #2 should be available from May 27th.
Kelly Bender will be at the London ComicCon in March with Markosia in 2016 if you want a rare chance to catch this Canadian from Singapore!
@KellyBender17 on Twitter