Review by Karyn Pinter
The great space epic Shrapnel continues with its second chapter, Shrapnel: Hubris. The heroine, Sam, a former marine turned freedom fighter, finds herself in a role she was born to play, but her reluctance shadows her. Enemies have become allies, the war is growing stronger, and the last free colonies are on the edge of bending to the will of the Alliance.
Lord, this is epic. If you thought the first volume of the Shrapnel series was intense, brutal, and dark, just wait until you get your hands on its follow up. If the first issue is any indication of what’s to come, then we all must prepare for a firefight. This was such an amazing launching pad, setting up the tremendous space opera that is about to land on comic shops over the next few months. What’s so great about Shrapnel (besides the crazy great art, the vast epic quality of the battle scenes, the holographic little sister, and the fact that the main character is a girl who can kick the living crap out of a battalion of space marines) is the political aspect of the comic. There are so many layers here, as there should be when it comes to war stories. And those layers apply not only to the society, with its race struggle between Helots and Splicers, and of course the hostilities being forced upon the free colonies, but also to the characters.
Sam isn’t the only one struggling with her inner demons this time around. Rossi, Sam’s old commanding officer from the Marines, has switched sides, once again joining Sam and the freedom fighters. Needless to say, his presence had thrown a wrench into the works and no one is too sure about his loyalties except Sam. And poor Sam, as much of a mess as she was in the first volume, now’s she got the weight of leadership on her shoulders and the stress is cracking her defenses. When Sam starts to crack, she turns to her holographic little sister. I don’t know why I’m so stuck on that, but I love that part of the story so much. Just the fact that Sam’s closest relationship is with a person who doesn’t really exist adds so much to the character’s depth, and helps us to both understand and be confused by her.
With a new chapter come new members of the team behind Shrapnel. Nick Sagan is officially in the captain’s chair, writing for the first time on his and Mark Long’s co-creation. Joining Nick is his wife Clinnette. Anyone who thinks girls can’t write bad-ass sci-fi is officially wrong. Don’t expect any butterflies and ponies. Nope, nothing but a girl writing about a girl kicking ass and taking names. As you can see, I am excited about this. What else is exciting? The art. First time around it was done masterfully by Bagus Hutomo and Leos “Okita” Ng, and now Concept Art House is stepping in. For those of you who have read the first chapter, Aristeia Rising, you remember the two page spreads of battle scenes and how magnificent the painted art fit with the story. Well, all I have to say is don’t worry. I was a little skeptical at first because I thought nothing could out do what had already been done, but my skepticism has been put to rest.
I have that feeling, the feeling that this is going to be some kind of amazing. The first chapter was mind blowing, and it seems clear already, with the first issue of Hubris, that this is on a whole different level. The dark places of the solar system, of society, and of human nature and mind will be explored, and I, for one, don’t plan on missing it. Neither should you.
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