Buck Rogers #1, Matt Wagner coverBuck Rogers #1
Writer: Scott Beatty
Art: Carlos Rafael
Color: Carlos Lopez
Letters: Simon BowlandPreview here
After the quarter issue, you might have wondered what kind of story you’d find in this issue. As expected, the story hops back from the possible, apparent end of Buck Rogers to the beginning (or, rather, even further than that, depending on how you look at it). We see how Buck Rogers arrives in the future, and we even get some flashback action detailing how Buck wound up at the helm of the New Challenger in the first place. So with that established, how does it all read?
Pretty damn well. Buck Rogers is a (appropriately enough, with no pun intended) rocket ride from start to finish. This version of Buck is immediately likeable; he’s the anti-authoritarian wiseass that inspired the likes of John Crichton. Colonel Wilma Deering’s introduction shows her to be intelligent and capable, even if the guy that she’s trying to rescue keeps doing crazy stuff.
One of the things that I like about Beatty’s approach is that he takes what might be familiar things in our minds from previous versions of Buck Rogers and turns them on their heads. The anti-grav suits make complete sense, and subtleties abound. I loved one panel that clearly shows aliens observing Buck’s arrival; that’s obvious a seed for a later tale. The story is also tremendously accessible. You don’t need to know anything about Buck Rogers at all to pick this book up and follow it. And, of course, spoiler warning: there’s a grizzly bear with an eyepatch and a blaster. Can’t beat that.
Carlos Rafael’s art is another major selling point here. He’s able to do fine detail (like a great close-up of a chase pilot’s helmet and oxygen rig), but the overall look is clean and smooth. I really like his juxtaposition of retro takes on things like the blaster pistol while giving an entirely new twist on the idea of a “jet pack”. Adding punch to the lines is Carlos Lopez, who does a particularly great job with the glowing portions of Wilma’s trans-suit.
I hope that a wide span of the audience gives Buck Rogers a try. It’s got action, humor, some classic characters, and a great look. Check it out.