Review - The Black Sable #1 (@zenescope)

"Now it and my crew...are some of the most notorious pirates on this side of the galaxy."

Sailing the high seas as a pirate is so 17th century. The new hotness is traversing the cosmos in search of corporate transports to be robbed and plundered. Zenescope seems to agree and offer up a new take on the concept in The Black Sable #1. The issue is written by Joe Brusha, illustrated by Sergio Ariño, colored by Dijjo Lima and lettered by Kurt Hathaway.

One hundred years in the future the "age of pirates" has returned as mankind reaches out for the stars. Schooners have been replaced by star ships and these pirates wield space age weaponry, but they are as bloodthirsty and ruthless as their predecessors were centuries before them. Experience a new universe of swashbuckling action and adventure in the vast reaches of space!

Brusha knows what makes a good space sci-fi and all of those characteristics are on display in The Black Sable #1--that being said, nothing about the issue feels particularly original. The issue sets up the main character in Black Sable and from there Brusha basically writes a script that hits all the space sci-fi high notes. There's a heist that's upended by morality, a major corporation that makes an easy target for pirates, an "off-world" location where pirates gather and rival pirate factions. All of this plays out the way you'd expect as Brusha doesn't really leave much room for something new. And the number of characters Brusha introduces in the issue is somewhat dizzying and makes it slightly difficult to keep up with who's who and faction alignments.

Ariño's style for the book is pretty simple. The characters are illustrated in a way that takes the concept of pirates and sets them in space as many of the characters sport familiar pirate trappings. Ariño does illustrate quite a few crowd shots pretty well where the reader gets a sense of the mayhem unfolding during a pirate raid. There are some instances where Ariño focuses on a particular character's head and shoulders as a means of introducing that character to the reader. Lima's colors are pretty straightforward and populate the book with the typical reds/greens/blues.

The Black Sable #1 is a very ambitious book that is pretty obvious with what genre it's inspired by. The Black Sable as a lead character is likable enough, but there's really nothing about her that fans of the space western/pirate genre haven't already seen. Brusha's approach does set up plenty of players to interact with one another and the hope is that as the series unfolds things will get more complex as their paths cross. Ariño's artwork is a good fit for the tone of the story as it adds a bit of pirate levity to space. The Black Sable #1 has a lot of good intentions and whether or not they're realized remains to be seen.

The Black Sable #1 is available September 6.