As we review so many different books, it continues to be a point of fascination of how many talented creators are working in the business. Fortunately for them, and us, there are places like ComiXology Originals to give them an avenue to display their own original ideas. One such book is EdgeWorld by veteran comic creators Chuck Austen and Patrick Olliffe. This story combines the flavor of the old west with classic science fiction. While it’s not the first time this has been done, the combination of the two genres have always been appealing to me. So with the first issue available this week, let’s examine what there is to look forward to.
No one can probably explain this as well as writer Chuck Austen, so here is his synopsis:
Edgeworld is the place people need to go in order to get somewhere else, but not to stay. It’s a temporary rest stop, a place to blow off some steam on a long journey between the stars. But no one stays on Pala unless the rest of the universe is done with them. No one, that is except for the oppressed Palans and their lone supporter, Killian Jess.
In Edgeworld, Killian Jess is the magistrate and a former United Authority soldier who knows the system, upholds the law, and delivers the verdict—with a vengeance. Alongside native Palan Cheela, Killian fights to protect the planet Pala, a backwater, frontier planet on the edge of known space located beneath a riftgate—the greatest and most valuable discovery in galactic history. Together, the duo must battle alien invasions, military forces, black market traders, otherworldly infestations, drug runners and the disastrous, ecological aftermath of a brutal, planet-wide war, in order to save the world they love.
Getting to know the Players
The first issue sets some of the cast. Readers are introduced to Killian Jess, who as described above is the magistrate. He performs the function of Judge and Jury when it is necessary. Kind of like a Judge Dredd. Thus it is no wonder that many visitors and citizens see him as the town sheriff or Marshall. And speaking of Marshall…just like Marshall Dillon, Killian apparently has an affinity for the towns BarKeep, Miss Shay. Also like Miss Kitty, Shay doesn’t take crap from the bar patrons. Especially when they are being a bit…shall we say, handsy? However, she also knows the law. If someone admits to threatening her, they are likely to receive her summary answer. Right between the eyes. No wonder Killian likes her. Although, how they handle their relationship is a bit different. They are nowhere as discreet as Miss Kitty and Matt. But what are alleys for?
Master of the Iron Stomach
We also get to meet some of his other crew. Such as Harley who has facial hair like Wolverine but the only thing admantium about HIM is his stomach. As he proves when he picks up a sandwich left on the dirty table they come to and eats it. Much to the chagrin of Killian. In addition, there is Chaka. A family man with his wife Jina, whose daughter Cheela has visions of being a fellow Magistrate like Killian. Chaka sometimes thinks that Cheela likes Killian more than him. Such are the fears of a Dad with a teenage girl.
Every Town needs a Sawbones
What would a western town be without a cantankerous Doctor? Or a science fiction story for that matter. For EdgeWorld, he is known simply as Doc (for now). And the one thing Doctors hate is to not know for certain what’s going on. But the only thing they hate worse is for someone to ASK them about it. Killian makes that mistake. This sends Doc into a swear filled explanation that he does NOT KNOW, nor will he likely know in the near future. Although, as quickly as he says it, he tells him to check back in a day or two. Doctors are cantankerous, not unreasonable.
As to what Doc is investigating…you’ll need to read book one. There is a lot in play here, with glimpses of the past and a number of grisly moments, including at the end. Just wants you want to read it more, doesn’t it? Well you don’t have to wait. Go to ComiXology and give it a read.
This is a great start to a story. Austen produces a nice mix of western iconic story pieces, including gun shootouts, jurisdictional debates, bar romance and angry physicians. You then mix that with classic science fiction with flashbacks, sandstorms, talk of portals, and past wars and you have a story that peaks the interest for fans of both genres.
Veteran Artist Patrick Olliffe is no stranger to comic book work, having worked for both Marvel and DC. This is his first work for an original story and characters and he handles the challenge well. Olliffe’s skills are well suited to draw this western/science fiction mix. When combined with the work of colorist Lee Loughridge and letterer Jodi Wynne you get an attractive looking book with a story that left me wanting more.
Does EdgeWorld seem like a book you might want to check out? Well you now have the opportunity to read it yourself. Let us know what you think of this newest entry into ComiXology’s Originals and share it with us at Geek Vibes Nation.
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.