Just finished reading issue #3 of Ignition City (Avatar), by Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani.
Ellis seems to be one of the few who can write sci-fi comics really well. Maybe it’s because he stays away from space opera, which seems to dominate much of this comics genre, and approaches it more as speculative fiction. His worlds tend to be believable (like Global Frequency or the alternate history tale Ministry of Science) or satirical (Transmetropolitan) – in which case the unbelievability is a device to further the narrative. And his superhero stuff is often quite outrageous but very entertaining.
So Ignition City falls into the first camp. It’s alternate history that imagines a world where humans have effectively shut themselves off from space after a series of misadventures. The story follows a young pilot searching for her father’s murderer among a group of fallen space heroes who spend their remaining days living in Earth’s last spaceport.
This is my first introduction to Gianluca Pagliarani‘s art, which is very interesting and reminds me of Jean Giraud’s work (aka Moebius). But it’s probably a European styling I’m not familiar with. Makes me think of Marvel’s Epic imprint circa 1980′s for some reason. Pagliarani seems to balance detailed backgrounds with iconic-looking people, drawing the reader into the story quickly while leaving a canvas to draw fantastic settings.
The first half of issue #3 really drove home the pathetic hopelessness that dominates these characters’ lives.