Review - Voyaga

With the Curiosity Rover beaming back awesomeness from Mars, the concept of space exploration is becoming more and more tangible. It's only a matter of time before we're fully prepared to send someone into space. Only hopefully the outcome is a tad more positive than that of Dean Kirkland in Voyaga from Markosia Enterprises.

Voyaga is written by Brandon Barrows, with art by Ionic and Rudolf Montemayor.

Dean Kirkland is a man's man, ready to tackle the stars and lay claim to the universe. The kind of man who can take apart and put back together a car engine, chops his own firewood and slays dragons. A hero of heroes, resourceful and calm in the face of danger.

Ok, so maybe the dragonslaying is a stretch, but he's enough of an adventurer to be chosen for the country's first foray into space as an ambassador for Earth. Only things don't go quite according to plan and Dean wakes up in a foreign world he's unprepared to deal with.

What follows in Voyaga is the classic tale of strange being treated as a god. Dean must figure out how to survive both the harsh environment he's been thrust into as well as the locals inhabiting that environment. Considering what he has to work with, it's safe to say he does a fairly admirable job.

Barrows likes the pulpy feel in his characters. He did it in Jack Hammer and Dean Kirkland is characterized with some of the same ideals. Giving the story a pulpy feel really helps drive the plot forward and makes it more interesting.

Barrows also throws a variety of obstacles in Kirkland's way, the most prevalent being culture shock. It's that sort of culture shock that serves as the backdrop for the entire tale. Since the setting is somewhat unfamiliar to all, it allows you to better empathize with Kirkland's plight. The reader is forced to go outside their comfort zone much like Kirkland is.

Both Ionic and Montemayor are credited with art on the book, but it's Ionic who carries the torch the most here. Montemayor illustrated the prologue and relied on heavy, black outlines. Ionic illustrates in a similar fashion, only his lines aren't as harsh. Both styles are similar enough where you don't really notice the transition though.

Ionic does a great job rendering the landscapes very well. There are tons of lush foilage crowding the world, forcing Kirkland to fight his way through. Considering the art is black and white (and almost looks like just pencils), accomplishing such a feat as depicting intricate scenes is very respectable. The art is solid and maintains the classic feel of comics, not overwhelming your senses with bombast.

Voyaga is a great science-fiction comic that hits on all cylinders. It's got a classic hero in Dean Kirkland, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle in a new world and an old-school feel. Fans of books that feature culture shock presented in a way that harkens back to stories like John Carter or Planet of the Apes will dig Voyaga.

Voyaga should be in stores October 1.