- Posted by Johanna on October 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
- CREDITS: by Tara Tallan
- PUBLISHER: Helikon Comics; $11.99 US
The first Galaxion book, The Jump, contains the first three chapters of the story, where a spaceship engages in a hyperspace jump experiement and winds up somewhere unknown. This next volume, First Contact, continues the story with the next three chapters.
When I got my copy of the new book, I was eager for the excuse to re-read the first volume, because I love Tara Tallan’s characters, and I welcomed a reason to spend more time with them. They’re such distinctive, realistic personalities, and having a whole ship’s crew allows for a lot of diversity of attitudes. (I also like how many of them are women. This is my favorite view of future exploration in all popular sci-fi, since women have plenty of roles and command positions.) They’re also cute, drawn with comfortably thick lines that gives them a solidity and plausible expression.
To allow, though, for other types of readers, this book begins with a four-page summation of the previous volume. Even having re-read The Jump, it was still a handy reference to be sure I caught all the high points of the story so far. What you need to know is, the Galaxion thinks they may have found the long-lost Hiawatha, the first ship to try the jump. General Nelson is leading the away party (although as the highest-ranking officer, she should have stayed in safety on the ship) because her husband was one of the Hiawatha crew.
Tallan is playing with suspense, making the reader wait to find out what happened, just as the crew has to. They’re trying to do things the right way, carefully approaching the wreckage, when what they really want to do is rush in and find out what happened. That’s how I felt about reading the book. I was so eager to find out more — it’s a great thing that Tallan’s work is so easy to read, because I could zoom through without getting lost or confused. And then, of course, come back and enjoy it all at a more leisurely pace. (I find the best books reward immediate re-reads.)
Tallan hits the high points of the story by filling in with flashbacks to show us how the characters came to be where they are. There’s also some philosophical debate, over how to handle first contact and what to do when the rules no longer apply. It’s exquisitely frustrating that we’re left with a cliffhanger — but there’s another chapter and a half at the comic website.
You can also buy the book there. (Each print copy comes with a free downloadable digital copy, too! The digital versions are also for sale separately.) Or there’s a discounted bundle of the first two volumes together.
The extras at the back of the book include Tallan’s first short story from 2006, drawn after her hiatus from making comics. It introduces Vessa, a marvelously competent survey team member, and provides a welcome scene with Captain Fusella, who isn’t seen in the main story. There are also process pages showing how a scene goes from script to art and some pinups and additional art. (The creator provided a review copy.)