Writer: Carlos Giffoni
Illustrator: Alexis Ziritt
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
WHAT IS IT?
Space Riders: Vortex of Darkness #1 is the first issue of a four-issue miniseries, and the third volume of the series overall. This is a comic heavy with sci-fi and occult elements.
Expect something along the lines of one part Rambo, one part Terminator, and one part Stars Wars but with a healthy dose of hallucinogenic drugs added to the mix.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After being attacked by a group of warriors out for revenge, our protagonist, Peligro, is contacted by an old ally who warns him of the imminent return of the mother of all evil gods.
Their failure to stop her could mean the end of all galaxies and all realities.
If you're like me and you haven't read any of the previous volumes, there's still a lot to enjoy here. After all, there's not really anything more profound than evil space gods, cybernetic badasses, and end-of-the-world (or in this case, end-of-the-galaxy) scenarios. But either way, Space Riders defines a certain niche of the genre. So, regardless if you have any experience with space operas at all, you won’t be prepared for what Giffoni, Ziritt, & Ferrier have created.
Carlos Giffoni’s script establishes an absurd, over-the-top tone and runs with it, delivering the most action-packed and ridiculous (in the best possible way) narrative. Pacing-wise, it never lets up and drives the story at a breakneck speed.
Though this is the third volume in the series, it never feels as if I’m missing something and gives little context as to what happened before, which works in its favor.
Alexis Ziritt’s art style fits like a piece of a puzzle. His linework is just as wild and unique as the plot. Nothing looks clean or perfect, and in a world like this, that’s the way it should be. I can’t imagine anyone more suited to drawing this book. His art reminds me of something you’d find on Adult Swim.
He also provides the colors. His palette has a very animated, acid trip quality which complements his lines.
It's cool seeing the contrast between the sci-fi and fantasy elements in the art itself and how they, as a whole, contrast against the weathered, almost illuminated-manuscript-esque design of the pages.
Ryan Ferrier’s lettering does a fantastic job of guiding the eye from panel to panel and keeps the story flowing without calling attention to itself.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Every aspect of this comic accomplishes what it set out to do. It just works, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t tend to gravitate to these kinds of stories. But if you’re looking for something a bit more dramatic or light-hearted, say for a younger reader, it’d be best to look elsewhere.
This comic is full of strong language and brutal violence – probably best to consider that before letting your kids read it.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
This is not a "serious comic book" in the traditional sense. This is a wild, absurd ride at its finest.
Space Riders is a comic that doesn’t follow the same rules as others and doesn’t care in the slightest if that’s okay or not. It’s pure fun and it’s completely 100% aware of that. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then I recommend picking this book up.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Strayed #1 by Carlos Giffoni & Juan Doe
Void Trip by Ryan O’Sullivan & Plaid Klaus
Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality by Fabian Rangel Jr. & Alexis Ziritt
If you like the art:
Space Riders by Fabian Rangel Jr. & Alexis Ziritt
God-Puncher by Lane Lloyd
Head Lopper by Andrew MacLean
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Carlos Giffoni – Writer
Multitalented: Since he was 14, he's been in electronic and punk bands as a singer, a musician, and even a producer. He's also a creative director in the video game and television industries and has credits working on League of Legends, South Park, and The Daily Show.
Outlander: Originally from Venezuela, but currently lives near the beach in Los Angeles, according to his personal website.
Animal Lover: Viktor Fulgencio and Lou Reed are the names of his two cats. Whether the Lou in the comic is a shameless Mary-Sue for Lou the cat has yet to be determined.
Alexis Ziritt – Illustrator & Colorist
Has created designs for the clothing company Threadless and for bands such as Mastodon, Slayer, and Metallica.
Outlander: Also originally from Venezuela.
Ryan Ferrier – Letterer
Multitalented: Also works as a comic writer. He’s also an amateur aficionado of horror films, tattoos, and black coffee. He plays the guitar and sings in a band called Grey Tongue.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Space Riders premieres Wednesday, Nov. 27th. Click one of these to get your copy:
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