A new science fiction series from IDW is blasting off into the science fiction stratosphere, based on the hit improvisational comedy podcast of the same name. Voyage to the Stars is a new five-part series written by Ryan Copple and James Asmus with art by Connie Daidone, jettisoning readers into a story where an ancient evil called the Nothing has taken the Earth. It’s not about the evil, though, but about a group of misfits who are more clumsy than efficient, attempting to do the right thing for the universe.
That is until they stumble upon the Exemplar, a superhero of sorts born to stop the Nothing. Power dynamics are thrown off, and things get hairy fast! This issue opens with a helpful backstory page explaining things, then drops us into an adventure with the crew on a strange planet. The crew is attempting to defeat a giant bunny monster in an equally giant mech and things aren’t going well. While the crew banter back and forth, things go from bad to hilarious when we find out one of the crew strapped “Mech Nutz™” to the giant robot. Nice.
For the most part, the humor isn’t so adult throughout, and it’s quite funny on nearly every page. The personalities of these characters are great fun, and it’s instantly recognizable this crew is tight-knit and has probably been together longer than some of them would care to admit. Once the Examplar enters the story, things get even more interesting as he breaks up the dynamics of the crew and yet is none the wiser due to his superior intellect and understanding of how high his self worth is to the universe.
By the end of the issue, this book reads like a perfect introductory comic. Having never listened to nor even heard of the podcast it is based on, I can say for sure this book gets the ball running and perfectly articulates why the story and its characters are funny and worth watching. There’s a good mix of science fiction tropes in the book too, like exploring strange caves, frustrated A.I. aboard the ship, or the awkwardness of being a human-robot hybrid and realizing you might be broken or at the very least pale by comparison.
The characters are also incredibly likable. They’re cartoony in their design by Connie Daidone, but overly expressive, which makes them that much more fun. There’s a good sense of when they should react and how they should react, which makes them seem natural and believable too. Colors by Reggie Graham add to the cartoony nature with bright purples, light aqua blues, and bright hair colors for the characters to further make them feel like they’re part of a world not to be taken too seriously.
The pacing and plotting also stand out as strong elements of the book. It moves quickly, never lingering too long on one thing. By the time we understand the dynamic of the crew, and how Tucker thinks he’s always right, we’re introduced to Exemplar and seeing how his assumption he’s the boss is ticking off Tucker. Three scene changes lead into an epic, dangerous cliffhanger, further keeping the story moving and keeping the energy up.
Voyage to the Stars is an excellent first issue, mixing science fiction and comedy into an instantly likable package. It has a great blend of dynamic characters and adventurous fast-paced storytelling.
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