In Review: Satellite Falling #4

A drop in quality from the previous three issues.

The covers: Lilly and Eva have finally reunited and the Regular cover shows it’s not going well. They’ve each pulled a gun on the other and they look to be tussling high above another world from within a ship. This cover is by interior artist Stephen Thompson and interior colorist Lisa Jackson. It’s a good cover, but there’s a lot of empty space between the title and Eva. It almost looks as if Thompson was expecting some text to go there. The Subscription cover is by Tom Beland featuring a cartoony version of Lilly sporting a pistol. It’s cute and is well done, but it’s too far from this series’ spirit to work. Overall grades: Regular B and Subscription B-

The story: Lilly has no time to mourn the death of police chief Zaim, who was also her lover, because she wants revenge. She makes sure that her crew is fine, they are, and then orders them to stick to the plan: find Eva and destroy her ship. They dock and three of the crew go with her to board the enemy vessel. Once on, they split up and Lilly does get to Eva. Writer Steve Horton reveals why Eva attached herself to Lilly and what her goals are. Page 12 has a very surprising moment, but is outdone by 13’s gasp worthy moment. The dialogue in the fourth panel on that page is the definition of bad assery. This is followed by a drawn out sequence with one of the crew that came off as milked: everything that this is intending to for the story could have been done in one page, not three. The final four pages also go on too long; two would have worked just as well. After 13 the story moves very slowly, which is major letdown after the previous three issues. Overall grade: C+

The art: This also was disappointing, as Stephen Thompson doesn’t ink all of his own work. He draws and inks the first fourteen pages, while Austin Janowsky inks Pages 15 – 20. The difference is very noticeable and very disappointing. The book begins with some incredibly detailed character work, with Lilly looking fantastic and her crew outright stunning in their appearances. I want my aliens to look alien, and Thompson has definitely delivered; even with the small four panels at the bottom of the first page, the characters are extraordinary. The violence that occurs on 5 when the heroes enter the ship has a tremendous sense of motion, as characters die and others run off to wreck havoc. Lilly and Eva’s meeting is also really well done. The scene is essentially two characters talking in a room before a giant window, but Thompson moves his point of view around expertly; it mirrors the best of film work. For example, the reveal at the bottom of Page 10 is great. The emotion on both characters during their talk is great — any reader can discern how each feels about the other based on how they’re drawn. The reveal on 13 is fantastic, and the close up that comes two panels later is excellent. 14 has a tremendous amount of detail in the characters and setting, but paired side by side with 15 makes the latter disappointing. Janowsky retains Thompson’s style, but not the fine line work. Lilly’s face at the bottom of 16 and 17 sadly pale to her previous appearances. Look at the background in the second panel on 18; lines don’t touch others. This is a huge drop in quality. Overall grade: C-

The colors: There are also two colorists on this issue, and one can tell when the change begins, but it is not as sharp as the change in artists. Lisa Jackson does Pages 1 – 14, while Alex Lozano does 15 – 20. Coloring is a key component of the first three pages to show that the heroes’ ship is cloaked; it’s a clever way to show the reader how the enemy vessel cannot see them. The alien characters have got some excellent colors, and each has their own defining hue. The reds on 4 and 5 are spectacular, serving as a stellar way to up the tension. There’s some outstanding color work on Lilly and Eva during their major scene, with the latter getting some great colors with her back to the light source. Starting on 15 the colors become really bright (the running sequence) and all the subtle shading in characters’ skin disappears. It’s serviceable, but stands out. Overall grade: C+ 

The letters: Dialogue and transmissions (the same font) and one sound are Neil Uyetake’s work on this issue. I wish that a different font had been used to differentiate the transmissions from characters’ speech, rather than a change in the dialogue balloon, but what Uyetake does is fine. I also would have liked to see some sounds in this book. This wasn’t Uyetake’s call to make, but I’m sure if he had the action sequences would have been better. Overall grade: B

The final line: A drop in quality from the previous three issues. The story is unnecessarily extended and the visuals falter after fourteen pages. However, I’m going to continue to follow this series to see how it plays out. Its beginning was amazing, but this is disappointing. Overall grade: C+

To purchase a print copy go to http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/satellite-falling-4/

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Satellite-Falling-4/digital-comic/502083?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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