Orbiter by Warren Ellis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The last manned space shuttle returns to Earth . . . only it's ten years late and covered in skin. Fleshy skin. Not weird enough? There's sand from Mars lodged in the wheel well, and the only surviving crew member has gone insane.
This extremely interesting plot hook was "too big" for the unfolding of the plot, which seemed rushed. It was a bit too "sudden" for my tastes, even for a graphic novel. I find myself wondering what this book might have been, had it been a bit longer, with more breathing room for deeper characterization and a slowly-expanding sense of wonder. The answers come a little too easy to those investigating the incident.
Still, this is a good graphic novel. The illustrations, by Colleen Doran, are very good, bordering on great. The characters in their happiest moments look almost maniacal, but other than that, the work was reminiscent of some of my favorite graphic novels.
With the changes that have taken place in the manned spaceflight program lately, it's difficult to say whether this work is anachronistic or prophetic. Any work that causes one to have to consider this must be worth a read.
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