Review by Troy Mayes
Nick Sagan and Mark Long’s Shrapnel series returns with the first of a three issue series called Hubris. The thing I love about Radical comics is quite often they give you a little more bang for your buck and in the case of Hubris you get 64 pages for only $4.99, not a bad way to introduce you to a new series.
Readers of Sagan and Minnis’s sci-fi story will be aided in their adventures if they’ve read Aristeia Rising as it sets up the story and universe of Shrapnel and because Hubris is a direct sequel to the events in Aristeia Rising. If you haven’t read Aristeia Rising then don’t let that put you off. You may find yourself a little bit lost at times in regards to some of the relationships that have developed and situations that are alluded to, but on the whole there is enough back story sprinkled throughout the story to let you know what’s going on.
Hubris begins with the universe’s last free colony, Venus, under siege. The colony is in bad shape, with scarcely enough food and other supplies to survive much longer, while the Solar Alliance is implementing an effective media war which is painting the rebels from Venus as the aggressors and root of all evil in the campaign. What this means is it’s a desperate time that calls for desperate measures, and hero of the rebellion and ex-marine Vijaya “Sam” Narayan has a daring plan that just might tip the balance.
The issue really benefits from its extended length. It allows Sagan and Minnis time to adequately set-up the dire situation of Venus and the importance of the mission they are about the embark on, a daring attempt to bypass the planetary blockade and eliminate the Alliance’s access to a key resource. There’s also real emotion and passion in the story. The Shrapnel universe is made up of a diverse group of people who either have something to prove, something to lose or something to fight for and there are some really poignant moments in the story where the emotion really comes through, like after the pods launch into space or when Stap confronts Sam about the state of their friendship.
This emotion also means all the action, which is limited, is quite powerful and memorable because there’s a real sense that someone’s lost someone as a result of that action.
What I liked most about Concept Art House’s artwork — and this could sound odd — is it looked dirty. It looked like Venus is on its last legs and desperately in need of everything if it’s going to survive.
Hubris should please fans of the Shrapnel series as it continues Venus’s struggle for freedom. Concept Art House create a drab and depressing Venus, which really hammers home the desperate situation they are in while the story is full of emotion from people who are very near their breaking point. Add to that a 10 page preview of Legends: The Enchanted a rather twisted look at some of your favorite fairy tales, and Shrapnel: Hubris is a great buy.
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