Disclosure: The reviewer received a review copy of this book via Netgalley

Review: Warship Jolly Roger: Book 1Warship Jolly Roger: Book 1 by Sylvain Runberg, Miki Montlló
Genres: Comics, Fiction, Science Fiction, Space Opera
Release: 2016
Type: Graphic Novel
Source: Netgalley

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This far-future sci-fi graphic novel pits a band of escaped prisoners against a corrupt galactic Confederacy. Commander Jon T. Munro was ordered to commit a war crime, and now he is serving a life sentence. When an attempted prison break by rebels leads to a prison riot, Munro and several others take advantage of the chaos. Munro, a smuggler, a rebel, and an enigmatic boy escape to become the crew of the Jolly Roger.

The story begins in medias res with the prison escape in progress. The action continues at a fast pace, interspersed with flashbacks that reveal some of the history of the characters.

While each character has their own competency, all have flaws. There is a distinct lack of trust among the escapees. Nothing goes according to plan, and they must constantly improvise. They make bad decisions and get into bad situations with harsh consequences. In other words, it’s pure epic grit.

My one comment with respect to characters is that there’s a glaring lack of racial diversity among the main characters. Especially in a far-distant future where humans grow up on different planets, I would expect some distinct ethnic and racial differences to have developed in that time. They do show that with some minor characters, but the main “anti-heroes” are from white European ancestry.

The artwork is spectacular. There’s sleek design for the ships and settings. Lighting, angles, and composition all enhance the project. Whether it’s a remote prison, an industrial colony, or a jungle on a poisoned planet, the result is a treat.

What Makes it Epic Grit:

  • Adventure and Wonder: Spaceships, prison escapes, space battles… Did I mention spaceships?
  • Believable Characters: All of the characters are fallible.
  • Real Consequences: Yes.
  • Epic in Scope: Yup.
  • Subverts “Good versus Evil” Tropes: Anti-heroes vs. Corrupt Authority.
  • Different Perspectives: Yes.

Verdict:

This is a great graphic space opera. I’m looking forward to the next installment.