Sentient (GN Review)
Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel Walta
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: TKO Studios
TKO is back with their second wave of books. If you're not familiar with them I suggest you head over to https://tkopresents.com and check them out. They're "binge" model is fantastic. I've already read their first wave and I can't wait to dive into the second. Being a huge Lemire fan, I preordered this book the day it was announced. I didn't even have to read the description. I mean come on Lemire and Walta??? It's a literally the perfect the match. Lemire's scripts are always full of heart and emotion and Walta's art is the perfect compliment with the way he deftly conveys emotion through ever page he illustrates.
This is the perfect book for all of my fellow sci-fi fans. It's reminiscent of the film PASSENGERS mixed with the classic novel LORD OF THE FLIES. A group of humans have left Earth and after unfortunate events the children are left alone and are forced to take over the ship. The awesome twist, is that their A.I. on the ship has become somewhat of a "mother" to them.
From the opening pages, it's clear that this isn't going to be your average story in space. It opens with a dead body floating in space and it only gets weirder from there, but in an interesting way. There are 2 opposing sides in the departure from Earth. One believes they should separate completely from Earth while the majority wants to help the remaining people on Earth find a new home. Things turn south when one of the separatists tries to kill the adults by using the ships A.I. Overriding the system, one of the crew members takes out the separatist, leaving only the children alive.
The idea of a humans eventually having to leave Earth, do to the damage done to it, is a legit possibility/necessity. With plans to travel to the moon and eventually Mars becoming more of a reality everyday, this story really hits home.
The more interesting aspects of this story is how the children learn to take on rolls previously held by the adults. I mean how else is the ship supposed to maintain itself. The kicker, is that the A.I. has become somewhat of a mother figure to the children. So when they eventually come upon another ship, she (the A.I.) is against the children seeking out whatever is on there.
I don't really want to go much further into the story, because I believe the magic of this book is better suited if you don't know to much about it. The beauty is in the connections made between these characters. Lemire is able to make you care about them in such a short period of time, which is no easy feat. Each character is easily relatable and have such unique personalities. The way the children are able to overcome the travesty of all the death and still push on is inspiring.
But as much as I love Lemire, Walta was the true star of this book. His panels are full of life and present the story in a way that makes you feel what the characters are feeling. He builds up tension between scenes in a way that almost gives this sci-fi story a touch of horror. You can feel the silence and coldness of space as you're reading it, which makes the experience of reading that much more enjoyable.
TKO hits yet another homerun with SENTIENT. Unlike some of the other series, this story sets itself up to where it's fine on it's own or could continue in another volume. Either way, I can't recommend this book enough. TKO is already becoming melting pot of genres and this is the perfect book to start with if you haven't checked them out.
As I said above, if you have a hard time finding this at your LCS, you can always by it directly from the publisher on their website. Link is above.