Eric Bradach's The Comixalaxy

Joyride #2
Publisher: Boom Studios
Release Date: 05/25/16

After an incredibly strong start and seamlessly positive reviews, Boom Studios announced that Joyride will be turning into an ongoing series. I for one was overcome with joy because even though I had a blast reading the first installment, I felt there was so much potential for future story, character development, and theme analysis presented in that debut issue that a 4 chapter mini-series couldn't do it justice.

The synopsis of this series is really nothing new when it comes to science fiction stories. It's the future and life is a bummer on our planet. Earth is under unitary control headed by the World Government Alliance (WGA) and they've blocked off all communication and sight from outside this insignificant planet. It's been like this for so long that no one living can recall what the night sky looked like and the population has been fed nothing but possible propaganda when it comes to depicting non-Earth beings.

The story then follows a group of youngsters as they rebel against their world's norms, one thirsty for adventure, another who's not as adventuress but tags along, and an uptight one who gets dragged into the mix. As said before, this idea and its characters have been done before, however the writers make up for it by creating groundwork for the characters ripe for development and write engaging dialogue.

The comic opens with consequences. Due to the actions of our protagonists, we knew that eventually something on Earth was going to be done to retrieve what would appear to them as treason. We're introduced to who'll be leading the pursue, I won't spoil it but I will say that he holds a close attachment to one of the members of the trio.

Uma, Dewydd, and Catrin discover an abundance of treasure on the ship they stole from their abductors. So they came to the most logical conclusion…..head for a spot to go on a spending spree and what better place to do that then a planet sized mall. While on the planet, Uma appears to have stolen something, is on the run, and bumps into a new player named Kolstak. Uma apparently beat him too snatching the item and he makes her an offer to join her and the crew as a guide amongst the stars.

Meanwhile, after being separated from Uma after being chased by cops, Dewydd and Catrin explore the city as they search for Uma. The two of them are opposites and aren't getting along. They stumble upon an upscale alien clothing store and it turns into a great scene with a humorous sales woman named Sio Ha.

Again, Lanzing and Kelly demonstrate their strong grasp on dialogue. Every exchange feels genuine and the conversations come off naturally. They also understand that it's an effective way for the readers to learn about the characters personalities and this issue is no exception. Each character is identifiable, memorable, and its a real treat to see them interact and working off on another.

During their detour, Catrin reveals that she knows about Dewydd's identity back home, which is unbeknownst to Uma. It still left in shade to us and it's an intriguing plot point that I look forward to seeing payoff. What's also left for readers to linger over is the mystery as to why mankind decided to isolate itself from the rest of the universe but since this was turned into an ongoing story, the creation team had probably chosen to hold off on that. This should create a stronger plot point as it allows for it to slowly build up with little hints throughout future issues.

In the first issue Marcus To's art was stellar and unfortunately in its follow-up it's a bit lackluster in some areas. It still is able to capture some great wide-eyed expressions that don't go too over the top, it keeps the comic in a nice balance of the mundane mixed with the fantastic. We do get some more creative alien designs, especially the upscale clothing store saleslady. However when it comes to the look of this alien world that's essentially a giant shopping mall, it comes off as a bit dull. There aren't any grand panels or splash pages to establish a sense of atmosphere. It's a missed opportunity but fortunately Irma Kniivila creates a brilliant color palette. Kniivila to provides a nice balance portraying a fun lighthearted mood in some scenes with a grit and dire mood in others when it's called for.

Final Verdict

Joyride #2 is a worthy follow-up. Who doesn't love a fun outer space road trip story? The issue continues to develop the characters while introducing new ones at a nice pace and installs groundwork for future stories. I also really enjoy how this comic is taking its time by providing us with small hints to the couple of lingering mysteries in the background. While the artwork is not as solid as its debut issue, it's still visually pleasing. Boom Studios made a smart decision in turning this into an ongoing series.

Score: 4 out of 5

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