Astronauts in Trouble
by Larry Young, Matt
Smith, Charlie Adlard
(AiT/Planet Lar, 2000)

Three reporters land the assignment of a lifetime; to follow the richest man on Earth on his trip to the moon to establish a permanent base and mining colony. Due to the potentially deadly actions of eco-terrorists, however, the trip commences prematurely with said reporters in tow.

Upon landing, it is discovered that things are not as they seem, and the very rich and benevolent Ishmael Hayes may not be as ... well, benevolent, as he seems. This is not the set-up for a sci-fi story of aliens and flying saucers. Rather, it is the plot to an intriguing story that, refreshingly, may have more to do with science than fiction.

Astronauts in Trouble, by writer Larry Young and artists Matt Smith and Charlie Adlard, reads like a novel-to-comic story, and I mean that in a good way. Perhaps one of the most intelligently-written comics I've ever read, Astronauts contains humor, suspense, action and even a few twists and turns in just the right places. It also has some of the best real-life dialogue a reader could hope for; the characters sound like real people, not cardboard cutouts. These qualities combine to make this story one of the most pleasing reads in comics today.

The only thing that might distract is the black-and-white art of Matt Smith. I tend to think his work would look much better colored, or even inked with thicker lines. Without either, the art comes off as very one-dimensional.

Adlard takes over for the last couple of issues, and does a better job at "fleshing out" the art. Considering very few comic artists today can do stellar black-and-white work, however, the effort is highly commendable, as is the project overall.

Astronauts in Trouble is recommended for all ages, though the complex content will probably appeal more to teens and adults.

[ by Mark Allen ]
Rambles: 11 October 2002

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