Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Plaid Klaus
Publisher: Image Comics
“The universe is real big, man” (Ana; Void Trip #1)
I am a sucker for a good space story. I also love a good road trip story. So, if you pitch to me the idea about a road trip story set in space. Well then my friends, you have the beginning of a great sales pitch. Considering this is exactly how writer Ryan O’Sullivan pitched Void Trip #1 during our interview last month, it was no surprise to say that I left with a copy.
Meet Ana and Gabe. Although it is not mentioned, they are the last two humans alive in the whole universe and they are on the trip of a lifetime. Literally and figuratively. These pair of space hippies are on a journey to find the Promised Land, also known as Euphoria. Which is kind of ironic, especially when they spend most of their time high on some sort of space froot.
In terms of narrative, Void Trip #1 follows the average comic book series opener, where the reader is introduced to the characters and the tone of the story is set. This first issue follows these two self confessed vagabonds, who could make their destination much quicker if they were to use space Sat Nav, but where would be the fun in that? In fact, where would there be a story? There wouldn’t be a story, and writer Ryan O’Sullivan knows this, as he has created a story that moves along nicely. Never rushing the story, essentially saying to you, ‘sit back and relax, man’. As Ana describes ‘journey, not the destination‘, and this first issue gives you a nice little taste of the journey to come for our two characters.
O’Sullivan has created an interesting story here, and he is intent on letting readers know that Void Trip is not just a stoner comedy, and this is highlighted in the main characters who represent two sides of one coin; Ana is the nihilistic bohemian, who immediately voices her own opinions on the world. She doesn’t want to be held back, and she believes nothing can stand in her way. Gabe on the other hand is the much more world weary hippie. The one who is much wiser and possibly knows that their freedom will probably come at a price.
As I mentioned above, Void Trip is not just a stoner comedy set in space. There is an undercurrent of something more philosophical and darker to the narrative, that is only hinted at in this opening issue. This is mainly represented by the nameless character that is hunting them down, and wants to put a stop to their own free will as he quotes, “You cannot track a free spirit. We cannot allow them to remain free spirits”. This mysterious character adds a sense of unease and unknown to the some what free spirited tone of the story, and it is something that I am interested in seeing explored within further issues in the series.
You can tell Plaid Klaus had a lot of fun with the artwork here. It’s bright, vibrant and eye catching. If I have to be honest, it was the cover art that made me have a double take when I spotted it. Plaid’s caricature like rendering of both Ana and Gabe not only emphasizes the trippy nature of the story, but also expresses Ana and Gabe’s emotions clearly and precisely. His rendering of the bar scene, which I will not spoil here, is essentially a highlight of the book. You almost get the feeling that this is what the world would look like if you were to consume froot. Throughout the issue there is equal warm and cool tones, both matching the tone of the story that has been set.
Now it can’t be all good, can it? Well if I have to be entirely honest with you, Void Trip ticked all the right boxes for me, but I may be its intended audience. It does have a specific humor that may not be for everyone, and there are certain in jokes that, whilst comic fans may understand, casual readers might not essentially pick up on.
Void Trip is true to its title. It is one hell of a trip for the reader, and a genuinely unique one at that. As an opener to a five issue series, it is a hell of a lot of fun, as well as having that undercurrent of something more philosophical. How can we stay free in this universe that is always trying to get in the way of your own freedom? Guess I will just need to pick up issue 2 to find that out.
Void Trip issue 1 and 2 are both available to buy, and I highly recommend that you pick up a copy!