By Dustin Cabeal
It seems that Zenescope’s new formula for books is familiar themes. For The Black Sable, it would be a pirate or in this case a space pirate that gets wrapped up in a big score and a lot of danger. It’s not unfamiliar in the least bit, but it actually presents an interesting story with a creative world.
The story begins with Sable’s crew raiding another ship. This lays out what they do and how advanced their ship is because that’s always one of the selling points in space pirate stories. The cargo turns out to be slaves, and that’s not something that Sable deals in, so they cut them free and send them back home. This, of course, leads to some talks of mutiny since they needed the score. Elsewhere two other plotlines are being developed, but they’re vague at the moment and kind of just a part of the story. The real plotline is revealed towards the end when the second issue is set up.
Everything in The Black Sable is tightly written. The pacing is steady keeping the story flowing, and while the opening could have been trimmed in favor of more story time, that’s just the way it goes with comics and stories sometimes. That’s more of a “written for the trade” element. It’s not a bad thing, just a thing. The dialogue is a little generic at times, but it works. It’s a space pirate story; it’s not like all the characters are going to be deeply developed and worth the panel time. There has to be one idiot that’s just ready to mutiny because he’s a pirate and that’s what they’re ready to say any time things are tough.
There are a ton of familiar elements that you’ll likely have read or watched in any story that’s similar. Even the twist of it being in space isn’t much of a twist. It reminds me of the start of The Courier, also by Zenescope, in which it was so familiar of a plotline that it was a little boring to read. There’s the same feeling here, but because of the steady pacing, it’s at least kept from being dull.
The artwork is really good. Zenescope has improved its talent search over the years and found artists with talent. Everything from the ship to the people is detailed and realistic looking. The character’s all have distinct designs and faces. There’s never that generic character model feel to them. There was one page that had strange proportions on Sable, but it was a giant two-page splash so I could forgive it since it was probably a stretch for the artist. Otherwise, the artwork is very strong, including the coloring which outshines a lot of other small publisher’s titles as of late.
While the elements being laid out are familiar, I’ve found that it’s what comes next that usually defines the series. That said, I’m ready to read more and look forward to Sable’s adventures. If this series is handled well, it could very well launch an entire space line at Zenescope which would be interesting to see and experience.
The Black Sable #1