Comic Strip Review: Spacetrawler Book 1 The Human Seat by Christopher Baldwin
The Eebs, small green aliens with strange telekinetic powers, have been declared “less than sentient” and enslaved by the Galactic Organizational Body. A civil rights group named Interplanet Amity, wants to free the Eebs. Their best hope is to seek help from a planet that’s almost ready to join the GOB, but hasn’t yet become dependent on Eeb-based technology. A small blue planet called Earth. But is this their best hope or a horrible mistake?
This webcomic begins with a brief action prologue, then starts the framing device with a lonely old man in South America. A fish-like alien, Nogg, lands in his yard, and after some false starts, informs the man that his daughter, Martina Zorilla, is dead. Mr. Zorilla had suspected this, since her disappearance years before. He insists on hearing the whole story, and the rest of the strip is that tale.
Naive Nogg and his IA colleagues, the sarcastic Krep and amiable but dim-witted Gurf, begin their plan by abducting six humans from around the world, each chosen for their special skills and qualities. Martina Zorilla of South America, Pierrot Abdullahi of Gabon, Emily Taylor of Southwestern United States, Dmitri Sokolov of Russia, Yuri Nakagawa of Japan and Bill Landing of Australia. Er, scratch that last one, as Nogg accidentally snags Bill’s paranoid and perpetually wrong-headed twin brother Dustin instead.
This is only the first glitch in the plan, as the Earthlings are less than enthusiastic about being abducted, and dubious about the effects of Earth joining the GOB to overthrow its economic basis. And even after they mostly get on board, it turns out there are a lot of things the protagonists don’t know about the GOB, the Eebs and even humanity itself that throw spanners into the works.
This science fiction webcomic is comedic, but with a melancholic overtone, as we already know that at least one of the main characters won’t make it out alive. The characters are diverse, and mostly likable (Dusty being more the Dr. Smith “guy you love to hate” type) and there’s some good character development. Martina goes from being a bored young woman dreaming of adventure to a capable leader, for example. Be forewarned however that not all developed characters become better people. There is a bit of national stereotyping, the American is extremely violent, and the Japanese character is a technophile.
There is quite a bit of violence, and sexual situations, call it PG-13.
This first volume covers the first third or so of the plot, up to the point where the original IA plan completely falls apart. The complete webcomic can be read for free at http://spacetrawler.com/ but the collected volumes come with illustrated introductions, bonus strips, and they put money directly into the artist’s pocket, which frees him up to make more webcomics. Mr. Baldwin is now producing One Way, a webcomic about a crew of expendable misfits sent to make first contact with aliens, and their discovery that this trip is truly…one way.
I recommend Spacetrawler to science fiction fans who enjoy comedy.