STRAYED, ISSUE #1
Writer: Carlos Giffoni
Illustrator: Juan Doe
Publisher: Dark Horse
WHAT IS IT?
A space-based sci-fi drama centered around sentient felines.
While the concept of forceful space-colonialism is one you could find in other genre favorites, the fact that it's centered around a cat makes it truly unique.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
While there's more mystery than answers in this first issue, and the creators don't hand-feed you information, everything seems like it's taking place in space, at some point in the future.
Humans are seeking to conquer other planets and take their resources. They're using a woman, Kiara, and her cat, Lou, to help them. Lou can astrally project himself across the galaxy, finding suitable planets, and using the technology Kiara has made for him, he can tell the others where those planets are.
But we get the sense that Kiara and Lou aren't all right with this, and recognize that the people calling the shots would probably kill them if they weren't so useful. Or, at least, wouldn't mind if they died.
So, what happens if or when they're no longer useful? Or if they decide they're no longer OK with humanity's choices?
Well, I suspect we'll find out, soon...
Gorgeous cosmic art, polygonal design elements and mysterious dialogue hook you from the very start.
Because of its novel approach to the genre, you don't know where the story's going to take you. We're still learning about the universe and how it works, so every page turn is a surprise.
Speaking of page turns, Juan Doe's skill and understanding of the medium makes Strayed a delight to read. There's a lot of thought given to the length of a moment, and what a page looks like overall vs the panels it contains. His design skill with these pages and with the aforementioned polygonal representation of astral projection make for such a joyful reading experience.
That understanding of the medium is also represented in the comic's layout. There are so many splash pages and spreads, showing scale or the length of a moment, but Doe also plays with reading flow. More than a few times, he uses his panel placement to guide the eye along irregular tracks over the page, and it heightens the experience all the more while subtly making the reader absorb more of the art.
Matt Krotzer's lettering also helps with the reading slow, especially in those unorthodox panels and pages. But without the tails of Lou's speech balloons pointing to his collar, I wouldn't have realized there was a translator built into it. One of the many reasons a good letterer is worth their weight in gold!
The font choice for Lou’s dialogue shows an accent or verbal effect that doesn’t exist in Lou's narrative captions. Probably because the collar translates to sound differently from how Lou sounds in his head.
Doe uses a limited color palette to illustrate the sterility of spaceship life, the strangeness of alien planets, or to easily show contrast between cold and warmth. So much of the comic feels like "orange vs green," but I don't really mind it.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
As mentioned earlier, the creators don't hold your hand through the title's storytelling. However, they don't make you work too hard for it, either.
I really don't have too many complaints this early on. It's a really solidly crafted first issue of what promises to be a must-read series. However, if anything happens to Lou, I'm rioting.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
With a focus on the relationship between a woman and her cat, Strayed is unlike any space opera out there, which is a feat in itself.
Often, space operas and science fiction in general can feel cold and sterile, but there's love at the center of Strayed, and it brings a warmth to the story that's addictive.
It's one of the most exciting new titles coming out of Dark Horse this year. Make sure you don't miss it!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Space Rider: Vortex of Darkness by Carlos Giffoni & Alexis Ziritt
Incursion by Alex Paknadel, Andy Diggle & Doug Braithwaite
WE3 by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely
If you like the art:
Dark Ark by Cullen Bunn & Juan Doe
East of West, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
Black Science, Vol. 1 by Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Carlos Giffoni – Writer
Multitalented: Is also a musician and a video game creative director & producer
Outlander: Hails from Venezuela
Has two cats: Viktor Fulgencio and Lou Reed
Juan Doe – Artist
On his art, in his own words: "The images he creates are snippets of warp speed hallucinations colliding with the split second reactions to the cultural zeitgeist."
Often, you'll see his art gracing comic book covers, probably thanks to his unique, bold style
Matt Krotzer – Lettering
Multitalented: Also works as a graphic designer
Chas Pangburn – Editor
Multitalented: Though he edits other comics, like Metalshark Bro, he also writes and letters comics, too!
Also has some film credits
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Strayed #1 premieres August 21st. Click one of these to pre-order it:
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