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April 12, 2011

Touring the Cosmos: “Souled” from Cosmic Times

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Written by: mike
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What happens when humanity finally learns how to navigate the universe? Space becomes crowded and mega interstellar corporations called “interglomerates” take over, that’s what. Cosmic Times presents us with Souled, a comic dealing with the what-ifs of galactic travel, and a good old fashioned sci-fi story.

Souled #1 of 5

Writer: Christopher Faulkner
Artist: Zach Bassett
Inks: James Whynot

The first thing I want to say about Souled and the production of it in general, is that it definitely seems like it is a labor of love. It is published by Cosmic Times, an independent publisher out of South Florida. Martin T. Pierro, the head of the company, puts in a full page foreword which gives a great impression of the company and a good frame of mind going into the read. It really seems that at heart the crew at Cosmic Times are fans, but understand the industry at the same time.

The story actually starts with another foreword, but this one is story related. It sets the scene, explaining exactly why humans are in space, and how they got there. I loved this part, because a lot of the time I think we are all kind of curious about that, but the story never touches on it. Not to spoil too much, but the plot revolves around a slacker captain and his eccentric crew, transporting some cargo and passengers to a nearby planet.

Christopher Faulkner’s writing is clear and concise at all times. I definitely was able to follow what was happening, which sometimes is hard for writers to project when stories are set in such a foreign universe. Faulkner’s strongest point, though, is the fact that he really put a lot of thought into each character and how they interact with each other. This is really a driving force behind this book, and is what mainly draws you toward it. The captain is a Mal Reynolds-esque leader, which is always fun to read as a great focal character. The rest of the crew have their quirks, and not one character has the bland personality that no one wants to see.

I can’t quite describe exactly how I feel about Zach Bassett’s art. At times he really nailed the look and emotion of a character, especially on the very last page, but at other times I was wondering if he could have maybe put a little more effort into a particular panel. There is a huge variety of color throughout the entire book, and that really helped in displaying exactly where we were. From the blue hue from electronic screens, to the green aura from test tubes, it all fit very well. In general I enjoyed the art, but certain panels were a bit “off.”

I would definitely like to see Souled through to the fifth issue. I’m sure Bassett’s art will clean up a bit, and Faulkner already has me hooked. If you’re a fan of Firefly, you will most certainly enjoy this read. It combines a great cast with a not so obvious plot, which is always a winning combo. I look forward  to seeing what happens next, and kudos to Cosmic Times for putting out such an original, old-school feeling sci-fi book.

Mike Parente

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.


One Comment

  1. Billy

    Good review Mike! Sounds as you said, a labor of love. Great to see small press moving forward!

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