Nothing about this comic is real. I should clarify. Everything in this comic is hyper-real. It is a space opera in the classical sense; melodramatic, fraught with peril and complete with chivalric romance. But it’s also a rip-roaring story that somehow manages to rip a hole in all your preconceived notions. Are there space battles? Yup. Plenty of ships doing fighty-chasey things. There are also space whales, dispensing hard-hitting wisdom between colliding with planetoids. Are there villains? You betcha. King Thulu rules with a maniacal laugh and squiddy appendages, a megalomaniac for the ages. But there is also loneliness, perhaps the greatest destroyer of all, lurking in all the dark places between, permeating the pages with depth and a visceral despair. Is there a damsel in distress? …Yeah, not really. Captain Wyan is a three-eyed Thulu lady soldier who corrects course and joins forces with our misunderstood hero, seeing truth and goodness where everyone else cowers in fear and hatred. And then there’s Cosmos. Born of a singularity, bursting into being already armed with a cape and crippling guilt, we can’t help but root for him from the beginning, before we even “hear” him speak. He embodies us, as we journey through the dark matter of our lives, searching for acceptance, doing the best we can to find ourselves among the detritus of the space around us.
This volume is nothing less than a work of art. D.J. Kirkbride has crafted a story that manages to be lush and stark simultaneously; every word, each interaction, either serves to move the story forward or provides intriguing context. Only the necessary words are used, creating a seemingly simple yet quite complex multiverse of meaning. And the artwork is incredible. Vassilis Gogtzilas dashes each page with deliberate abandon, rendering each panel a mini masterpiece. This is the promise of the hyper-real made marvelous. Limbs are lengthened, lines are hatched and squiggled and spattered, creating the most delightful and dynamic sense of immediacy. And Frank Cvetkovic displays superb skill in deftly navigating the disparate dialects of this universe, employing every weapon in his letterer’s arsenal and gifting each race, every character with a distinct voice that is immediately translatable, echoing in your eardrums in precisely the way it’s meant to.
There were sections of “The Bigger Bang” I read several times, just to squeeze every atom of beauty out of them. This collection looks and reads unlike any other comic I’ve picked up; it’s so fantastically full of pretty for the eyes and meaty for the soul. It’s really, rewardingly good. I plan on going back into it several times, but not before I run to pick up “The Biggest Bang #1,” which promises to launch me even deeper into the unique universe created by such a talented team. I’m already strapping myself in. There’s only one thing that I don’t understand. Why don’t you have it yet? Why? This is a journey you definitely want to take. A Cosmos is waiting for you.
Find out more about D.J. Kirkbride at djkirkbride.com
Find out more about Vassilis Gogtzilas at vassilisgogtzilas.blogspot.com
Find out more about Frank Cvetkovic at gofrankgo.wordpress.com