They Fell from the Sky
As my bio will tell, I have been a fan of Star Trek since my youth. So, I can certainly relate to young kids whose common bond is a Sci-Fi television show. And while adults might not understand their obsession, it also allows them to be more open minded about the possibilities of life on other planets. For 12 year old Tommy Murphy, any chance above infinitesimal is an opportunity for a first contact. Little did he and his friends and family know he would be right. Such is the premise of Mad Cave Studios, They Fell from the Sky as written by Liezl Buenaventura and drawn by Xavier Tarrega. Looking back, I had actually did a review for the 1st issue of this series back in December. Even then, I recognized the potential, but for some reason, I never got back to it. Let’s remedy that problem by looking at the TPB of Mad Cave Studios, They Fell from the Sky.
Sci-Fi becomes Sci-Fact
It was while binging on their favorite Sci-Fi show Space Journey and debating with his friends about that possibility of extraterrestrials, that Tommy saw it. A green streak of light across the sky that lead off into the woods. Naturally, Tommy snuck out of the house to investigate. What else would a fan of Space Journey’s Captain Dirk do? After going into the woods and following the trail, he found an alien craft and eventually, a furry animal looking alien. Unfortunately, the poor little thing was injured.
So what do you do when you find an injured alien that resembles a strange dog? You take him to your friends mom who is a vet. She patches him up and allows Tommy to take Orion home. He named him Orion after his favorite episode of Space Journey (I sense a pattern here). However, he couldn’t take him to his house. Mainly because his parents forbid him to have a pet. Luckily they have a clubhouse they could use, and because the little guy was injured, his parents were more amenable to letting the strange dog stay…in the short term.
All and all, Tommy’s parents were pretty cool. In fact, they weren’t much different than most families. He fought often with his older sister Katherine who didn’t understand him or his nerdy friends. Of course, she had her own problems as she had been held back a year because of poor grades. Not that it mattered much to Katherine. She foresaw a career in social media. Once she established her social brand, she was out of there. But while Tommy and her might not get along, no one else is allowed to pick on him but her. As I said, typical.
His father Nick had hoped that Tommy might eventually have an interest in the family farm. It had been passed down from his father and his father before. Tommy, for his part, is not even CONTEMPLATING his future. At least not like that. Unless it involves aliens and space travel. He is only 12 years old. While his mother just wants the best for Tommy whatever that might end up being. Sometimes, that put her in contention with Dad. He thought that she was sometimes TOO lenient with Tommy. He needed to learn responsibility, even at this young age. But for now, all Tommy was concerned about was Orion and taking care of him. So he enlisted his friends Dylan and Bryan to help him. As fellow fans of Space Journey, they alone would understand.
The Galactic Factions
As luck would have it, Orion was not the only member of his species that had arrived on the planet. Two other factions of Ker (Orion’s Race) had made the journey as well. Both were in search of Orion. One (The Rebels) because they wanted to use him as a bargaining chip in a dispute with their planets ruling family. The others (The Royals) were members of that ruling faction. Orion was the Queen’s son and he was supposed to take his place to one day succeed the Queen. But Orion wanted no part in their politics. He wanted to do what HE wanted to do. So he had taken off (Sounds like a typical Earth kid.)
Naturally, this conflict soon found its way out in the open. And before long, the little town found itself engaged in their intergalactic squabble (or as Zed from Men in Black would call it: “An Intergalactic Kegger.” It didn’t help that the town Sheriff, Chuck Dunhavy was a bit trigger happy. Just one more match for the powder keg.
But this was not the first time it had happened. Years ago, the same two sides also fought on Earth and the results were similar. In fact, a local, Jeb Dean’s brother was killed during that first skirmish. He has never forgotten it and knows it will likely happen again. Destruction and death with no real winners, only losers. Only history repeating itself. Could Orion, or Prince P’alas (which was his real name) bring an end to the conflict? What are you waiting for? Read the book and see!
As aforementioned, the influences of shows like the original Star Trek can be felt early and often in this story. One look no further than Captain Dirk and the discussions of how “the original shows impossible tech is just everyday stuff today.” That is certainly true of Star Trek, where communicators and medical examination screens are commonplace now. It also pays homage to films like E.T., MAC, and others about visiting lifeforms and their interactions with humans. Or more specifically, Kids. Which is all right, seeing as how the book is generally aimed at Youth. Which is not to say there are not pieces of the story that are not relatable to adults.
The family dynamic of the Murphy’s is VERY recognizable. Especially Tommy’s relationship with his sister and their love hate relationship. While she may not understand or even care about Tommy and his friends love of Space Journey or any other Sci-Fi stuff, in the end she will fight for her brother and for her family. Tommy’s father and his love for work and his respect for a work ethic is so understandable for his generation. And I can certainly relate to that with my own father. Writer Liezl Buenaventura does a great job of capturing both sides of the generational divide with realism in a totally fictional setting. That’s not easy. Great job there Liezl.
In the same way that Buenaventura had to balance her story between the human interaction and the battle between the Ker factions and eventually, the humans caught in the middle, so did Xavier Tarrega. He also had to illustrate the story so it would appeal to both his youthful target audience and the older set. He pulled this off by combining a whimsical approach with the Ker, while still capturing the drama in the battle itself. When added to the family dynamic of the Murphy’s and the added side story of Jeb Dean’s original confrontation with them, it made for a satisfying series which Terraga skillfully kept moving to its eventual conclusion.
All and all, They Fell from the Sky does exactly what it was designed to do. Present an entertaining story that fans of the Sci-Fi genre will recognize, while giving both youngsters and adults a story they can share. That alone makes it worthy of attention. Mad Cave Studios They Fell from the Sky can be found where great comics and graphic novels are sold.
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Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.