I was very surprised and impressed by this issue. So often Sci-Fi in comics is just a reimagining of an existing theme or a story comprised of dozens of familiar themes. It’s why the sci-fi genre suffers within the comic book medium. Along comesVirga, which is based off of the novel and manages to be different and yet not so different that it’s unfamiliar. It was very refreshing not to be reading a “chosen one” style of story and while we do have a main character that may in fact be on that journey, he’s not the embodiment of those tropes nor is he hitting all the same pit-falls. We’re introduced to Hayden, a young man working in the kitchen of an inn. He hears the gravity bell and wants to go investigate. Miles, the only friend he has tells him that the gravity is fine and to focus on cutting up the fish (that have wings). He continues to make excuses until Miles tells him to go and check out what his mother is doing. Miles drops everything and runs out to see if he can help his mom who is test firing their new sun.
A year earlier we find Hayden and his parents off to buy supplies. Hayden is excited to see the asteroid “Rush” and points into the sky asking if the rock closest to them is it. His father corrects him telling him that it’s just a piece of Rush that broke off and all of the towns attached to it are satellite towns. He points to a larger and greener rock in the sky and indicates that it is Rush and the country of Slipstream. It too has other satellite cities clinging to it, but they are larger and more complex than the others previously shown. His father also tells him about how Slipstream’s Navy destroyed their sun and absorbed the country of Aerie ten years ago. Hayden goes shopping with his mother while his father goes off to run some errands, but when they return they find the police arresting him for having black market sun parts on him. His father yells to him telling him that they’ll never be free until they have their own sun. Hayden is restrained while they haul his father off, all the while his father yelling, “Never forget!”
Back with Hayden on his way to help his mother, he thinks about his father and how he never spoke, he never gave up the fact that it was his mother building the sun. Suddenly some jet motorcycle looking vehicles zoom past him towards the artificial sun. Some rebels begin shooting at them, but are killed with one missile. Hayden picks up a gun and heads to the bike hanger to help his mom.
This issue is very exciting. It grabbed my attention from the first page and held it the entire time. It actually jumps to the future in this issue as well and adds another level of interest to the story and a layer to the plot. Hayden’s a good character and while we don’t know much about him outside of these events, we do see him represented with three very different personalities. When we see him with his father he’s very childlike, wanting to explore and absorb his surroundings. When we first meet him, he wants to fill in for his father and help his mother. He essentially wants to be an adult and honor his father’s wishes. The last Hayden we meet has become jaded with time and age, it’s not clear what type of man he is, but he’s definitely not the Hayden we first meet. The writing, plot and world were all excellent crafted and executed.
With any sci-fi story, the art work and design are extremely important. Think of any big franchise and you will just as quickly think about the esthetics of the world as well. The art brings this universe to life and does an incredible job of giving the three different time lines their own look and tone while maintaining the design of the universe. The technology was also very refreshing and while there was some semblance to things we’re familiar with, like a jet motorcycle in the shape of a jet engine or a blimp inspired space ship; it was still visually stunning.
I’m really looking forward to the next issue because I was blown away by this first issue. It’s an incredible and refreshing read. I enjoyed it so much that I might actually pick up the book series as well. How this franchise has flown under the radar is beyond me, but I’m glad it found a home at Blind Ferret Entertainment. For only a dollar you can own this book digitally so check it out and remember, “There is no up or down in Virga, unless someone has created it.”
Writer: Karl Schroeder
Adapted and Scripted: Jeff Moss
Artist: Guy Allen
Publisher: Blind Ferret Entertainment
Release Date: 6/5/13