Posted on November 3, 2009 by Flames
Available at DriveThruComics.com
Considering I’m a huge fan of Fear Agent (Dark Horse), it stands to reason I’d be on the look-out for other pulpy sci-fi adventure “with stones”. Now I should mention right away that Mr. Phelps Space Detective is not as awesome as Fear Agent. I’m not saying it’s bad, though; oh, no, far from it. In fact, if you are looking for an action SF ka-boom fix, this should do rather nicely.
Mr. Phelps is, as the title suggests, a space detective. He also has a ship called the DeForrest (great name) and a side-kick / love-interest named Kat… who’s a cat. Well, a cat-person. Yes, a bipedal cat… person. Anyway, it all seems to make sense in the comic, which is full of space-faring adventure, explosions and people screaming in vacuum, greedy dudes named Jorge, an attack by clones, an odd device called a “hitchhiker” and lots of made up words like “skunc”, “frik’n scumlick” and “quarb”. In other words: Very, very fun.
And it’s this fun which carries the book along with solid, above-average writing. The dialogue is swift and smooth, and the scenes are paced well. This whole first issue runs at a good clip, really, and yet I never felt it was going TOO fast. In the end I was left with questions (the good kind) and a need to read the other two issues in this series.
The only major downside I can see is the art. Not that it’s terrible or anything, but it does have a “sketchy” and uneven quality to it. It looks better in black and white than it does in color, really. The first and last pages are colored, and while the coloring job is competent—very good, even—, it just doesn’t service the art as it should. But this is most likely due to the odd style of the line work. There are some places where the illustration is just bad, like Marcela’s face on page 19. Her face looks more like a clown’s than a comely woman’s with those bizarre looking… lips? Yeah, I’ll go with lips. I can see where artist Jason May has some serious talent, especially with spacecraft, aliens and technology (nice spacesuits!); but he seems to have a hard time with faces and even anatomy at certain points.
What I’m happy to report is that even with the above complaints, Mr. Phelps Space Detective is a freaking hoot to read! It’s not perfect, but if you’re looking for a rip-roaring space yarn to get into and, like me, are howling at the moon with your other two wolf pals for more scifi-pulp with extra grit and grime, you can’t go wrong with Mr. Phelps.
Review by Steven Saunders