In Review: Satellite Falling #2

This is what I want in a science fiction comic. Recommended.

The covers: A trio to have fall into your collection before time runs out. The Regular cover is by Stephen Thompson and Lisa Jackson, the interior artist and colorist, respectively. This is a superb image of Lilly speeding off with Joulya, the slave that made her break her cover, as they’re followed by two cars of baddies. The detail in the setting and cars is amazing, but having the protagonist’s vehicle upside down as it speeds through the city increases the tension and wow factor exponentially. Outstanding cover by Thompson and the colors are also fantastic: having the colors of the car be a green against a peach and tan background makes it stand out spectacularly. This was the cover I had to buy. The Subscription cover by Wehoyot Alvitre focuses on Lilly waiting in a vehicle for someone. She’s got her left arm leaning on the window, while in her right is a gun, below the window’s sight line, waiting for her prey. Nice moody shot with, again, spectacular colors. The Retailer Incentive cover has an image that hasn’t occurred at any point in this series so far. Lilly is riding an eight legged creature down a city street. The beast is as big as a Bantha and is a fleshy red. It’s cool looking, but the content seems really outside what Lilly would do, so far. It’s little big for a sentient that she’s been hired to collect, so far. Nevertheless, this is a neat illustration by John Bivens. Overall grades: Regular A+, Subscription A-, and Retailer Incentive B

The story: Lilly is in the belly of the beast, working for the police, disguised as a Wilagno, trying to lead a sting operation. She saw that slaves are being used in the facility and she blows her cover. Two guards burst into the room and she pushes the boss aside. Her hologenerator has a cloaking device and she activates it, causing guns to fire. The slaves realize what’s going on and break down the door to their warehouse. Lilly runs out, re-disguised as a Wilagno, but she changes her appearance to match the young girl that broke her heart. The youngster instantly trusts her and they follow the other escapees. She tries to contact the police chief, but her communicator goes down. She and the girl hide behind a car as the villain comes out with his goons, guns drawn. She turns her projector off to be able to hotwire a vehicle and the two take off with the bad guys in pursuit. This is an incredibly exciting opening from Steve Horton and the action does not let up. A chase through the city comprises the majority of this book and it’s thrilling reading. The conclusion is terrific, but after its conclusion Horton throws a worse obstacle at Lilly. She’s hit in the heart and it has her questioning her past. She says she wants no part of where the chief is going, but she’ll have to get involved. There’s no way she’s going to leave his comments unanswered. This is classic detective story fiction in a science fiction setting. Great action and great mystery. Overall grade: A+

The art: I’m in love with Stephen Thompson’s work. He can solidly tell a story without the use of dialogue. The first panel on the first page illustrates this: Lilly shoves the boss aside as the two minions train their guns on her. Look at the great work done on the characters, the action conveyed by the villain falling down, and the great perspective in the room, including the chair: that’s right, look at the chair. It looks great. And a matching chair is shown from a very different perspective in the second panel — it’s completely believable. Pages 2 and 3 have very little dialogue, only in three panels, but the other 13 concisely tell the story of Lilly’s escape. I’m not a fan of explicit violence, but when someone gets hits by a gun or laser blast, it looks exactly as I would assume it to be on flesh. The hallmark of this issue is the vehicle chase though the city’s skies. A car chase should be the stuff of nightmares for an artist; think about it, the artist has to be consistent in creating all the vehicles, have the vehicles in motion, create a competent setting, and move the point of view around to keep the action high. Thompson also has to have the vehicles flying. It’s a beautiful sequence. There’s never a slight in any aspect of the art. On Page 14 a major obstacle is introduced into the chase and it’s tremendously dramatic: Lilly’s reaction in the third panel mirrored my own. The reader will be able to feel the impacts that occur on 16 and I loved how there was literal fallout from the climax. The conversation on 18 is terrific. This could have been the cliche talking heads panels, but Thompson moves the reader constantly around the pair, adding to the drama of the text, such as in the first three panels on 19. And his design of aliens is outstanding. I’m a huge fan of alien looking aliens, and Thompson is continuing to give me designs I’ve not seen before. I applaud this artist’s work. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Making the colors add to the impact of the artwork is Lisa Jackson. The first three pages are incredible tense because she’s colored them with a light rose, as if the situation has gone to red alert. This gives her an excellent opportunity to up the alien-ness of the aliens, by having one character’s pea colored blood splatter the red setting. Outside of this room, and into that which holds the slaves, the colors go blue, signifying a passivity, which is appropriate for those that are being forced to obey another. The colors truly explode once Lilly and Jouya get outside: the sky is an alien peach, Lilly’s got orange-red hair, her vehicle is emerald, and the city a pale tan. This is a fantastic combination of colors that make this future seem bright and upbeat, even though the protagonist’s situation is not. The coloring of last two panels on 14 is terrific, because an object is shown in the vehicle’s windshield — the colors bring this effect to life flawlessly. Every panel of every page is excellent. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, narration, and an A.I. voice (the same font) and sounds are crafted by Neil Uyetake. I’m still not happy that the first three texts are the same font and this issue now has a strange absence of sounds in places. There are no sounds when guns are fired, yet a small sound to open a door is. I’m missing the big sounds. This isn’t Uyetake’s call, but, unfortunately, it falls under his contributions. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: I stand validated by my comment on Issue #1 that this was the best new series of the year. The exceptional story and detailed art make this a fantastic book. This is what I want in a science fiction comic. Recommended. Overall grade: A

To learn more about Satellite Falling and other IDW comics go to www.idwpublishing.com/product/satellite-falling-1

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.
2 Comments on this post.
  • John Bivens
    4 June 2016 at 2:16 pm -

    Satellite Falling is through IDW and not Image.

    • Ian Cullen
      4 June 2016 at 2:42 pm -

      Thanks will try and get that sorted.

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