by Alexis Ziritt, Fabian Rangel Jr. and Ryan Ferrier
Well, that was an experience and a half. Not being one to pay much attention to previews or solicitations, Space Riders was an absolute treat. From cover to cover, this was a uniquely insane and different book that can only be described as Jack Kirby on acid. That description, while not only accurate, is used with the utmost respect for The King while also being absolutely floored with this book whether they intended it or not–though chances are high that if you like comics and create comics, you’re influenced by the man himself.
One can’t help but wonder what creators Alexis Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr. where doing, or ingesting, when the idea for this book came about. Space Riders has Space Vikings, Skull Space Ships, Space Baboons, along with various other talking Space animals, that are all only the tip of the iceberg. Rangel, who gets writing credit, has a special gift for the wacky and weird and it’s on full display here. There’s a hint of Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers (created by Kirby in the 80’s) in between the lines, but it’s taken much further and, really, it’s likely just due to the very Kirby feel of the art and colors.
Speaking of, Ziritt’s art and colors feel like they’re an homage to The King himself–if you didn’t get that from the previous sentence–and it’s an absolute beautiful thing to behold. The colors are bold and striking and the art is the perfect blend of insanity, talent and action. Kirby Krackle and sweeping scenes with fantastic character designs and amazing movement blend seamlessly to give the reader an experience that you might not have really experienced since the 80’s. It really is a feat of imagination and artistry and one that every fan of comics should behold.
If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the little, subtle additions to this book that make it look old and worn, and like it’s exactly out of the era it’s seemingly trying to pay homage to. It’s a fantastic little choice that amplifies everything this creative team is going for, even if some might not notice it right away. Also worth noting are Ryan Ferrier’s letters which, admittedly, can sometimes be overlooked or even taken for granted. From the fantastic title page letters to the perfectly chosen letters for when Yara speaks and even just the bubbles chosen really help to tie it all together nicely.
Really and truly, it’s like an acid trip in space in the best kind of possible way and with just one issue, Rangel and Ziritt have distanced themselves from any other book currently available and it’s something we desperately need more of. Different is good, or in this case different is great. From the moment you see the absolutely stop-in-your-tracks-gorgeous cover, you’ll want to pick up this book and when you do, you’ll be hooked. For back-to-back weeks, Black Mask has put out an absolute stunner. Pick up We Can Never Go Home and check out what Black Mask is doing, for sure, but before you do anything else, pick up Space Riders.