way back in 1969, when some guy wearing what looked like a
helmeted snowsuit planted an American flag on the moon? Well,
I don't because I was born about 13 years later and by the
time of my birth, space travel had once again become a thing
better left to science fiction. And that pisses me off.
is the weekly lunar shuttle to the moon colony? Where is the
manned mission to Mars being launched from the moon base we
establish there (and for those who I know watch The Simpsons,
where's my freaking Tang)?
travel once got an entire nation excited about science and
expanding our knowledge of the universe. Now we have almost
no respect or admiration for it. NASA is too underfunded to
do anything really history-making, and the US government doesn't
seem to care about much save for the Middle East nowadays.
I'm just a little bitter that the world isn't as cool as I
want it to be. But one comic helps to take a little of the
edge off: Astronauts In Trouble: Live From The Moon,
created and written by Larry Young and drawn by Matt Smith.
asks the question "What if a very rich man decided he
wanted to do what Armstrong did all over again?"
Hayes is such a man: owner of one of the near future's largest
conglomerates, Hayes has funded his own personal mission to
the moon, bringing with him enough supplies, raw materials,
air, and crew to establish the world's first other-terrestrial
space colony. He's also brought with him the main cast of
characters, the Channel 7 news crew, who are about to get
the biggest story on or off the planet (assuming they survive
the trip, the landing, and what may well be a very dangerous
is mostly told from the view of the media, a storytelling
tool that Young capitalizes on in the forms of the Channel
7 news crew: cameraman Heck, producer Anne, and reporter Dave
"Sparky" Archer, the most trusted man in television.
the story is exposition from Dave, reporting on the events
of the comic as they happen, and that is the real strength
of Young's script. He starts the reader off with some break-neck
action as we are quickly introduced to the characters and
rushed into the near fatal launch of the moon mission, then
slows everything down in the middle, giving the reader time
to get to know (and like) his characters.
he hits you with more action, intrigue, and some dire consequences
for everyone's favorite journalists.
also adds some politics to the equation when the territorial
status of the moon is questioned. Think about it: what country
would a moon colony owe allegiance to? What is the global
effect of a principality that is not on the globe? I'll give
you a hint: not a good one.
the story is vastly intriguing, the art isn't great. Smith
has a style that is pretty much a Mike Mignola rip-off, but
unlike the expert Hellboy artist, Smith's style isn't as clean
and his use of heavy inks and dark shadows are too sparse.
Some of the characters look too similar and it creates confusion
in Young's very good plot.
I do like is actually in the short back-up story in that rear
of the collection, drawn by Darick Robertson. It features
not one, but two forms of monkeys, in conjunction with space
travel. And what could be sweeter than a chimp and a gorilla
wearing space suits? Not a damn thing, I tell you.
my objection to the artist, this is a good book and worth
your bucks. Astronauts In Trouble is AIT/plaNETar's
signature book (notice the "AIT,") and it won't
break your wallet wide open at $12.95. I ended up with a damaged
copy (you mean UPS guys don't listen to "Fragile"
stamps? LIES!), but the guy who does my weekly pull list is
giving me a break and ordering me another copy, free of charge
(Bless you Dave. Bless you).
out and buy this book and rekindle that boyhood (or girlhood)
love of space that had all of us wishing we had personal jet
packs and a rocket ship.
in Trouble : Live from the Moon