Western Comic: Satellite Falling, Issues 1-3

March 17th, 2017

Satellite Falling, written by Steve Horton and illustrated by Stephen Thompson felt very much like The Fifth Element, starring a lesbian character, without the kind of satisfying ending that that film provided.

We begin by being introduced to Lilly (hah), the only human on a satellite full of aliens, whose job is bounty hunter, or whatever she needs to do. Lilly comes already burdened with a tragic love affair when we meet her. 

She is hired by the police…more specifically, by the police chief for whom she does contract work, to help uncover a organization that…blah blah blah. The details are as unimportant in this story as in any other “watch the cool bounty hunter beat up people” sci-fi story ever. I mean really, the point of this book is watching the cool bounty hunter, no one really cares about the details of the evil organization.

We are told – and shown – the species-ism that is supposed to stand-in for racism, without any context. In fact, I found it pretty tasteless that we are forced to watch a lynching of an alien, without any narrative around the scene other than “oh look, they are so xenophobic.”  Lilly, we are repeatedly told, is the only human left on the satellite. Why? What happened? We don’t know, except that humans left because of that species-ism.

Lilly uses holographic masking to appear as various species but is wholly human. Her police chief boss, not averse to coercion, uses their ability to shift forms to have sex with Lilly as a female. Again, as no ideological or sociological context is applied to the scene, I could not help but read it as a bunch of guys thinking lesbians are Man LiteTM, and therefore wrote Lilly the same way they would a male protagonist. On the one hand, it’s freeing, knowing that neither the Chief nor Lilly have any emotional baggage about this, on the other hand, it’s also calls Lilly’s obsession about her former lover into some kind of icky question. Like, weren’t you not moving on a second ago? Or is that only for internal expository monologue and actually you have sex all the time? It’s hard to understand Lilly, and the narrative is too busy having her be one-liner funny and kick ass to ever really bother trying. This mess is also why I would not call this comic a LGBTQ comic. It has a lesbian protagonist, but is not particularly about her.

The end of Volume 3 is a big ole’ cliffhanger and, really, I should totally be the audience for this comic (badass lesbian bounty hunter),  but as the big reveal is so horribly boringly obvious and then is presented as a low-key reveal, I find myself not all that interested. Also, I’m tad annoyed by Amazon Kindle/Comixlogy’s bundle of the first three issues of the series, without any sign of issues 4 and 5, which are currently TBD for 8 months.

The high point of the series is definitely Thompson’s art which was both artistic and easy to follow and Lisa Jackson’s coloring which wasn’t the super-saturated colors I find so difficult to cope with. Looking at Satellite Falling was the best part. If only the story had built the world with the same fervor it had Lilly talking to her dead lover.

Ratings:

Art – 9
Story – 6 Couldawouldashoulda
Characters – 7 The alien bartender was my favorite character. He was all the stereotypes and I liked him anyway
Service – 7 It was actually a nice sex scene, except for the fact that it was coercive
Lesbian – 10 You know what was actually lesbian? Lilly’s obsession with Eva. THAT was lesbian.

Overall – 7

If the other two issues show up in the universe, I’m not opposed to reading them, but I’m not losing sleep if I don’t.

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