Jason Aaron, "Hopeless" Hallum (Story), Stephen Green (Art), and Rico Renzi (Colors).
Space is so #$%& terrifying. A perfect start, both echoing and opposing the opening to Issue 1 of Aaron/Hallum's newly unfolding space epic Sea of Stars.
And much like Issue 1, Issue 2 is a beautiful journey the terrifying wilderness of Deep Space, where if the native wildlife doesn't kill you, the vacuum will.
While Issue 1 was focused on the father and son duo, exploring their somewhat strained relationship, and outlining the world they occupy, Issue 2 is a deep dive into the mindset of the older of our two protagonists, Gil Starx.
And I'll tell you this for free. Seeing all that he's gone through this issue, seeing his grit, determination and drive to track down Kadyn, I defy anyone not to find themselves warming to old Gil.
"Gruff dad, unsure how to deal with his new child" is an overworked trope. We've seen it a thousand times, in a thousand different media. Hell, this whole series is basically Finding Nemo, but in space (there's even a chilled out, talking turtle). So it's success or failure will hinge on one, simple but vitally important factor.
Do we give a shit, about the characters.
Now, to be sure, that same point can be made for ANY story. If you're not invested in the characters, you'll not care about anything else.
However in a story like this, loaded with tension, tightly focused and with such a small supporting cast, the importance is increased tenfold.
Thankfully, even just two issues in, I can happily say that Aaron and Hallum are off to an excellent start with the cast of Sea of Stars.
Seeing Gil fight through this issue; The physical fights against the native fauna, the emotional battles against his past (warning, tragic backstory incoming) and the greater battle against his fears for his son, all capped off with his struggles to survive in the depths of space, with little to no resources, and a ruined ship...
Seeing him fight through all this, perservere, and still grasp firmly on to some semblance of hope. It really tells you a lot about his character, and you can't help but feel, deeply, for him. There's nothing special about Gil. He's not a super spy, he's not a god, he has no magical powers, or hyper advanced technology. He's just a man, lost and afraid, trying to find his son. There's something so primal about his struggle to keep going, that you can't help but relate to him. When he smiles, you smile, when he laughs, you laugh. When he feels pain, you hurt.
And when he eventually catches a break, and it looks like luck might finally be on his side, I assure you, you will cheer.
Let us hope that happens, soon.
But, of course, there's always a sting in the tail. And while this issue was mostly focused on the ongoing trainwreck that is Gil's journey to reunite with his wayward son, we also got a small glimpse at Kadyn's somewhat more relaxed journey.
Which will stay relaxed for, all of one more issue. As dark forces and once forgotten enemies are rising again.
And their eyes are firmly locked on our young adventurer.
Join me next month folks, when hopefully Gil will finally catch a break, and the mysteries of Kadyn will expand further!