Suspended Animation

Michael Vance   Mark Allen   Michael Vance Books
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Lost In Space

"Danger, Danger, Will Robinson," droned Robot, "Lost in Space is back!" So, is that a good or a bad thing?

Forty years ago, in a galaxy called TV, there was a show about a family, a robot, and a doctor named Smith, who were lost in outer space.

Most folks who watched it either loved or hated Lost in Space. The boy actor who played Will Robinson loved it, and after a multitude of failed attempts, has brought it back to a paper stage, a massive graphic novel.

This novel includes a John Severin cover, Stan Lee forward, rare photographs, and an interview with movie mogul Kevin Burns.

Every element of the television show is evident, plus a few that never made it to the small screen. 

The first new facet is that the campiness that so many viewers found distasteful in the original is gone.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul is a well-written, serious adventure full of plot twists, lots of characterization and action that will entertain most readers. The occasional nod to the cheesy stuff in the old show even made this callous reviewer smile. 

And although the artist struggles to consistently capture the likeness of the original characters, his visual story-telling is excellent, his reality-based style is distinctive, and most readers will set aside the finished tale with a feeling of satisfaction. Bye the way, the answer to the earlier question is: it is a better thing than it was so long ago.

LIS is highly recommended for hardcore fans, and recommended for everyone else who enjoys a three-hour tour aboard the Jupiter II instead of the Minnow…in outer space.  

Lost in Space: Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul/360 pgs & $37.95 ("Oh, the pain!) from Bubblehead Publishing/story: Bill Mumy, art: Michael Dutkiewicz/available at & comics shops.

Review by Michael Vance

Queen & Country: Declassified

Paul Crocker is a field agent for British Intelligence, on a mission to help a KGB agent get out of Prague, so he can work as a double agent.  The job's been getting to him, however, as he has suffered what his boss labels a "rotten run of luck" as of late.  Not to mention what it's doing to his marriage.  That's all I'll say about the story, but I will add that if you're a fan of the t.v. show "Alias", or the Movie "Ronin", this book should be on your reading list. 

Writer Greg Rucka leads the reader on an interesting and enjoyable international adventure with a wonderful cloak-and-dagger flavor.  The story itself is not complicated, or even particularly complex; it's a fairly straightforward spy tale.  It's Rucka's characterization that steals the show.  He does a great job giving his characters depth, and making their motivations clear.  The dialogue is believable, and it's easy for the reader to empathize with the main character, Crocker, as he seeks to balance his sense of duty with his love for his wife.

Brian Hurtt is the artist on the book.  I don't believe I had ever seen any of his work before, but I'll be watching for it from now on.  Hurtt is not a strict student of realism, but there is such an element in his work.  He balances it well, however, with a hint of "cartoony" expression, in the wider-than-normal chins, thicker-than-normal limbs, and the like.  His men are beefy, and, judging from the single female character in the story, his women are curvy and attractive, but none of it in exaggerated fashion.  A solid style that looks like nothing else I've seen.

Queen & Country: Declassified is not recommended for kids due to some profanity, but adult readers/fans of spy and espionage stories will enjoy it.  Find it at your local comics shop, online auctions and retailers, or at

Queen & Country: Declassified, published by Oni Press, 96 pages, $8.95.

Review by Mark Allen


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