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My New Favorite Space Odyssey (Strayed #1 Review)


Writer: Carlos Giffoni

Artist: Juan Doe

Colorist: Juan Doe

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Rating: 9/10

Dark Horse is coming back again with this strong new release. 

This first issue of STRAYED launches the promise of a new original and incredibly beautiful series. 

The story follows the life of Kira, a scientist doing research for the government. She is accompanied by her cat, Lou, who has the power of astral projection. This power gives the possibility to Lou to travel through space with his mind, something the government discovered to be rather useful to explore planets.

The story is evolving in a futuristic world where they are desperately looking to colonize new planets to find newer and stronger resources to extend their power. 

This first number start the series with a strong dose of originality and emotions. The combination of writing and art is powerful enough to carry a large amount of feelings through the pages. You will sometimes feel sadness, empathy or love. One thing is certain: it was impossible for me to be indifferent. 

The relationship between Kira and Lou is adorably touching. You can see the love they carry for each other, depicting the strength of a love between cat and owner (and as a crazy cat lady, this is something that went straight to my heart, no matter as cheesy as it sounds). 

Inside those short 25 pages, I found myself falling deeply in love with their relationship.  One of my favorite scenes demonstrate it perfectly:

Separated by a door, Kira is talking to Lou stuck on the other side. Lou calling out for Kira, and Kira telling him that she'll be back soon for him, to which Lou repeat "Soon. Soon." And proceed to fix the door until her returns. It may sound a little crazy, but the pauses in between the scenes and dialogue helps bring the heavy atmosphere where you are able to feel the struggle of Kira, fighting for the freedom of her little guy, and Lou who just want to be happy. Something that made me realize how impeccable the duo of Carlos Giffoni and Juan Doe is. 

But it’s not just that scene. Without revealing too much of the story, there’s lots of tiny details throughout the pages that helps bring emotions to the first plan. The facial expressions and juxtapositions of panels give a powerful sadness, followed by lots of empathy for extra/temporary characters. There’s just something about the perfect balance of details that elevates this story even more.

Circling back to the writing, I think Carlos Giffoni did a nice job with the villains. Although there is one specifically portrayed in this first number, you quickly realised he is part of a bigger and meaner empire. I am convinced there is another level to the bad guys in this story. Something maybe to bring it closer to our home: invading other civilisations for their resources. Add in the potent and effective dose of emotions that this team previously proved they were capable of and you have a rather dark story with a spoonful of hope. Usually a winning recipe.  

And I’m not done. Let’s talk about the art for a moment. The color theme is amazing. The combination of colors and tones give the astral projection some majestic vibes, something I thought would be kind of hard since… Well… Nobody really knows what projection looks like, right?

If I’m being honest, the art is definitely a strong factor of why I liked this book so much: 

The story takes place in space, it is always important to have a color scheme that will help enhance the mysterious yet mesmerizing universe, there’s nothing more boring than a bad represented universe. In STRAYED, the dark colors mixed with warm tones and a touch of green and blue reminded me of pictures of nebulas and galaxies. To say that the artist succeeded to represent the environment is a euphemism: not only did he succeed, he owned it. Adapting the universe to his own style while perfectly representing the story, characters and tone. 

Juan Doe, the artist and colorist, is a true passionate creator. I fell in love with the use of geometrical forms incorporated into the drawings to give a nice symmetry and cleanliness to the lines while bringing up the mysterious aspect of it at the same time. I think it’s something quite original and a style I don’t see often.

I want to finish this article by going over how much potential I think this book has. A sci-fi story, with heartfelt character, authentic relationship and serious topics is something I will never say no to. There’s immense growth potential there and I think this first number illustrate it perfectly. 

If you’re not at least giving STRAYED a chance, I think you are definitely missing out on your chance to discover something fresh and different to add to your collection.

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