Review – Shrapnel: Hubris #1

Shrapnel: Hubris is a bit of a departure from other comics I’ve seen lately. Maybe I’m crazy, but for a theme as heavily done as a futuristic space colonist with revolutionary ties, have there been many comics in this genre lately? I’ve seen standard modern day military comics and I’ve seen titles that were a little more space outlaw based, but nothing quite like Shrapnel.

Radical Comics brings this title to us by Nick Sagan with art by Concept Art House wbere in a distant future mankind has colonized several planets in the solar system. The government, titled the Solar Alliance, has begun a crackdown on the colonies and their insurrections, particularly on Venus. The Alliance does this using an elite fighting force consisting of genetically enhanced soldiers known as The United Space Marine Corps. Using particularly brutal tactics they seem to have the planet and its resistance on the run until a former marine named Vijaya Narayan takes command and battles them to a stalemate. The meat of the story takes place after those battles have occurred.

In the first issue we are introduced to the blockade of Venus and the various leaders within the resistance and of the planet colonies. There seems to be some tension between the Martians (from Mars) and the other people referred to as Helots. The Martians are genetically enhanced soldiers and people; I guess that is the direction Mars went in. We get a look throughout the issue of various prejudices and conflicts just among people that give this story a human edge to it. We also have your typical oppressive government elements including bombardments from space blowing up alleged resistance weapons caches and fighters.

Captain Narayan knows that everyone can’t just sit on Venus waiting for the blockade to end and she has a plan. Under the cover of legitimate construction, the resistance on Venus has built three spacecraft to escape the planet to execute a plan; a plan that we still don’t know at the end of this first issue. Using a solar flare that disables the marine fleet’s sensors, the freedom fighters escape the orbital blockade. It doesn’t go as smoothly as planned (as breaking blockades by running through a bunch of starships rarely does I suppose), but in the end a small force escapes heading for an unknown planet. Towards the end we get to know this brave ex-marine turned freedom fighter via a dream sequence that is quite revealing (if you catch my meaning).

Overall, the story is intriguing with equal parts political maneuvering, military tactics, character development and good writing. The artwork was really well done as well even if there really wasn’t anything about it that stood out as unique or particularly overwhelming. There is something intangible about this book that kept me turning the pages through the always general extra large issues that Radical delivers. I can’t put my finger on it but this tale of revolution on an interstellar scale certainly has my attention and I can’t wait to see the conclusion of its three issue run. Pick it up in stores if tales of bravery and valor by some freedom fighters on a galactic scale sounds like your cup of tea and you won’t be disappointed.