Image Comics Review: Universe!
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer, Artist, Letters, Colors: Albert Monteys
Reviewer: Tony Farina
The Eisner-nominated series of self-contained, and somehow connected, sci-fi tales involving alien life, robot love, corporate greed, and travels through time, space, and perception. Collects UNIVERSE! (digital edition) #1-5.
Anytime an artist puts all the work on his/her/their back and says, “Hey, follow me, I got you,” the work is most likely going to be amazing because the artist cares so much about the work. Monteys loves his subject. He loves the genre. He cares and every single panel shows it. The plot is whip smart. He uses five short stories that are loosely connected, but also directly connected. It is kind of brilliant. Wait. Strike that. Totally brilliant.
The art is beautiful. I just want to say again, that when one person does all the work, it is shows exactly what that person wants us to see. Monteys wants us to see how beautiful things are, but also how desolate and scary and bizarre. He does some bang up visual story telling as well. Check out this panel where he shows the hero of book one going through time. Almost know words, but tons of story. I love it.
The only flaw I can find with Universe is that it takes a few readings OR it requires one sitting to fully get all the connections. I opted for the latter, but that may not be practical for all readers. It isn’t super long, but 200 pages takes some time. There is a lot to love here, but in the short attention span world in which we live, it might be problematic. Also, this is done in landscape because it was designed to be seen online. I is just a different experience holding the book. Not terrible, but different.
Universe is perfect for the right kind of reader. Not everyone is going to love it. There is a lot of introspective fun to be had. Montey’s plays with all the science fiction tropes while simultaneously swimming in them. He winks and nods and expects the reader to get it. The best genre fiction does that. This is quite a love letter to Roddenberry, Asimov and Dick. I am jealous that I am not the one who wrote it, but thrilled I read it.