Matt Garvey is back at it folks! We’ve got a GARVEY DOUBLE FEATURE this time around with Prey For Us #1 and Untitled Generic Space Comedy #1!
We’ll start with Prey For Us. This is conglomeration of sci-fi rolled into a very nice looking package (thanks to J Francis Totti on the visuals). As we jump right into things it is clear that our situation is dire. Everything is wrong and there’s no knowledge of why. What we do know is that we’re waking up in a stasis pod that’s crash landed on an unknown planet. Our man character is separated from everyone (or anyone else that has survived) as well as the ship. Thankfully there are locators and both a second stasis pod and the ship are on the planet as well. We’ve just got to get there. With little gear to make the trek, we’re off on a strange planet looking for other survivors and answers.
It is a quick driving narrative that gets us from the crashed stasis pod to the second pod and then on towards the ship. There is a very clear danger presented during our journey. Something is out there and it is smart. Without diving into deep exposition or flashbacking a backstory and set up, our story is given enough meat to make us care about the bones (such as the personal interest in finding out what’s happened for our main character). We don’t need too much as the setting and situation drive the initial hook that pulls into the true issue at play. The lack of narrative and reliance on visual storytelling works wonderfully. Realization playing out over panels and pages that allows the reader to fill the void of narration is almost always more powerful than being fed the feelings. We’ve got that here. Other than some inner dialogue from our main character it is the panels doing the telling. There’s bullet point steps (talking with onboard computer) that do some filling in but mostly it is a “here it is, let your mind wander” approach.
The narrative take does well with the palette chosen for this book. It is a very bright draw of blue and green that very loudly screams of how alien this planet (and situation) are. The foreboding mood is elevated with the unnatural look and feel of everything. By the time we make it to the ship and we’re given the “oh shit” moment of the book we’ve become beyond uneasy with where we are. That’s the point here. Prey for Us #1 is a nod to the sci-horror stories we love because they use US to help tell their story. With the build and impression you form before being given the last bit of information, we’ve got an excellent first issue!
Our second book, Untitled Generic Space Comedy, is a foray into different territory for Matt. With UGSC we get a comedic romp that is all sorts of inspired and homage paying to pop culture itself. To borrow a phrase from pro wrestling, this is a SMARKY book (in the good way). It knows exactly what it is and loves being so. It doesn’t apologize for being off the cuff AND on the nose with what it borrows and what it alludes to. For that alone it is worth the read. Fortunately for us Matt can do comedy as well as he does his other books.
For me the book works because, at its heart, it is a relatable human tale. Your everyman (Jim) is just tired and fed up of simply, being. Even with the backdrop of being human in a galaxy full of sci-fi fantasticism we’ve just got two dudes wanting more and being bored of the status quo. This is where Matt’s point blank take on telling his stories shines. Yeah, there’s an entire universe that needs at least some framework here but he doesn’t dawdle with exposition dumping and long arching backfilling of story. Nope, the point is that these dudes are space truckers, this takes place in a sci-fi set up, and the boredom of the bummy bro duo is what’s going to set us off to adventure. There you have it and that’s all you need to appreciate the plight of these two.
The sci-fi backdrop allows Garvey to pull from a huge swath of references and jokes. He does so with ease and manages to make the comedy work seamlessly. Nothing seems forced nor does it come across as pandering to the reader. It works because of how well he’s written Jim. He’s the main vehicle for both aspects of the book (the actual story as well as the comedy). Great choice as he’s put forth as this lovable not quite loser type of guy. So much of him relates and resonates it almost works to well. Added to the excellent portrayal of the “guy you knew growing up that made all the wrong choices but you loved anyway” are John McFarlane’s art and Allison Hu’s colors. They’ve combined for the perfect look here. It isn’t overly cartoony but absolutely lends to the comedic tones of the book. The palettes go hand in hand with the “ugh” feeling from Jim but also have a vibrancy that you’d expect from a setting that includes all sorts of alien beings and fare. The action plays out very well visually too.
In typical Garvey fashion this book ends with a perfect execution of making you want more. Jim’s “ho-hum” looks to be getting revved up as the two are set for quite the departure from their norm. I’ll be along for the second installment of this one.
Do yourself a favor and : Click to head over to Matt’s shop and get the goodies yourself!