Strayed #1 – Carlos Giffoni, Juan Doe & Matt Krotzer (Dark Horse Comics)

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You, me and everyone else who stumbles across this fantastic book, could, should and will be instantly forgiven for assuming that Strayed is a relatively straight forward tale of a woman, her cat and the infinite vastness of space. And whoever it was that originally uttered the missive about judging books by their covers was probably, thanks to the hidden mysteries of some sort of prophetic gift, talking about Carlos Giffoni’s anything but straight forward story of astral projection, inter-species communication and understanding and galactic expansionism.  While he’s not exactly a household comic book name now, given the amount of history, mythology, character development and plot that he crams into the twenty something pages of Strayed’s first issue, it’s only going to be a matter of time before he assumes his position on the podium of four colour hierarchy.

A critique of the short sighted, blinkered policy of empire building that humanity revels in, Strayed if it continues to follow the path laid down in this opening chapter, could easily become one of those books that the folks in know whisper about in darkest recesses of comic book shops everywhere. Deftly balancing characterisation and story with the epic, eye popping artwork of Juan Doe, Giffoni’s book has all the ingredients necessary for it to become a truly great space opera, as it incorporates its vast array of influences (that includes everything from the works of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov to Silent Running, Avatar and so much more), bends them to its will and uses them to forge forward on its own unique, and magnificently engaging path. Strayed is one of those books that everyone will be talking about in six months and even if they’re not, I will be, because this is beginning of something wonderful.  From small feline acorns mighty cosmic oaks grow…  Tim Cundle

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