Comic Book Review: Sky Pirates #1

This Free Lunch Comics tale is steeped in the shockingly rich fantasy history of the world of Valendor. Although this world will be new to most readers, the learning curve should dive up with excellent speed because the creators teach us what we need to know with quickness. Writer Everett Soares shows us what could easily be the far-flung future of our own Earth. In the year 3250 NA (stands for New Age), society lives much by an aristocracy / bandits model. But this aristocracy populates a world of flying ships, and these bandits count humanoid bears and cats among their numbers.

Our chief protagonist is Tobin, a man with a troubled history that’s well known for his ability as a Captain. We first meet him while he’s doing the nasty. See the title of this blog here? You know I liked that moment. And while I’m on a tangent, I was happy to see that this title didn’t shy away from sex. It embraced the sexuality of its characters, dispersing it in varying degrees to help define different personalities.

But back to our story. Tobin is tasked with going on a journey that could prove to be more danger than it’s worth. We the readers know this, but unfortunately Tobin does not. Accompanying him is the character with the best visual design in the book – his feline lover named Shyni. She’s a cat / human with a captivating composition. Her outfit and stripes work in seamless fashion to please the eyes.

Along for the ride are many other pirates, some to be trusted and others not. The first antagonist is established in the form of Gearz, obviously someone with whom Tobin has a past. This will prove to be an interesting relationship. Other members of the crew include many unknown pirates, as well as a large bear / man. His design is also quite eye-catching.

If I had to criticize the story’s structure at all, I would note that the opening couple scenes suffer from delaying the immediacy of the tale. By the time the issue is done, I feel fully entrenched in the fantasy experience of Sky Pirates. But I think it would have done this strong story much more justice if the creators had opened with an action sequence, and then cut to some of the more expositional moments instead.

The art team is decent, with a lot of excellent touches and a lot of room to grow. Penciler Brian Brinlee excels at forms. His characters are consistent, strong, and charismatic. Their motion could be more natural, but they compensate for that with their excellent designs. Brinlee is a great choice to introduce us to this world of Valendor. However, he does lack in the lighting department, leaving most of his work set out of the shadows. His line weights are also in need of greater variation, as they exist mostly as a standard thickness (and thus fail to create a tension of perspective within the panel). Inker Michael Kellar accentuates Brinlee’s strengths. Still, I would like to see more patches of black in his inks. Because the story is not inked with deep shadows, the tones by Jet Amago must compensate. While they do a decent job at making up for the lack of heavy darks they can’t fill the bill completely. Strong letters by Cary Kelley round out a fun Indie art team for this first issue. I look forward to watching the quality of their art grow as the series progresses.

Suffice to say that I’m hooked on Sky Pirates already. One issue deep and I’m already excited for the next installment. While there are a few structure and art concerns to be worked out, the immersive quality of this book makes the fantasy addictive. I can’t wait to read Sky Pirates #2.

6.5 / 10

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