Olly’s World of Indie: Super Robot Mayhem & Vessels #2

Having survived his summer holidays, Olly MacNamee returns with a look at a bunch of marvellous mechs in Super Robot Mayhem from Subversive Comics, as well as the fantastical world of Vessels from Card Shark Comics.

Super Robot Mayhem #1

Publisher: Subversive Comics Writer: Jeremy Biggs Artist: Javier Bordon Price: £10

Underneath an impressive logo, designed by Aphex Twins’ designer Paul Nicholson no less, is a bold, dynamic space-faring adventure that demands your attention. Javier Bordon delivers a widescreen cinematic reading experience from a Jeremy Biggs script that has shades of Alien to its opening pages as a crew of extra-terrestrials come across a damaged spaceship, The Vladislav Surkov, and sole hibernating crew member, Raiden Nakamura. The use of soft focus in places only adds to the feeling of this being taken directly from the big screen and posted into a comic book. A clever, effective design decision that works extremely well in this comic.

Cut to a very much awake Raiden, along with the rest of the crew, and the story begins to unfold. A story promising a mix of space-opera and anime influenced mecha mayhem. Well, super-robot mayhem to be precise.

It’s a string first issue offering the reader a glimpse at a crew who’s collective fate has yet to be revealed, but it doesn’t bode well given the events of this issue and what it results in. The design is unashamedly influenced by the greats, Akira, Gundam Wing, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you can see hints of it in the design of any number of background details. The ehicle used to identify whether or not the crew of the Vladislav Surkov have found what they are looking for hints of Akira or the design of the ship and it’s interior quarters in which we are introduced to the rest of the crew in this first issue. Definitely Alien influenced. But, these guys know this and embrace it to create a unified backdrop on which to tell their story. An original story with a familiar feel to it. A universe in which we easily fit in and can focus on the story and what may come next.

By the end of this promising debut issue, the main antagonist is revealed, we have been introduced to most of the crew and the stage is set of some super robot mayhem to come.

A mecha-fuelled mash-up of Alien and anime told through a cinematic sensibility.

Super Robot Mayhem #1 is available now online at Subversive Comics webstore

Vessels #2

Publisher: Card Shark Comics Writer: Dave Cook Artist: Rafael Desquitado Jr Price: £5.00

What seems to be a straight forward sword and sorcery story is anything but, as we find a world more befitting the fantasy genre inundated with objects from our own contemporary society landing slapdash across the landscape of Cairnthala. And, how this ancient world deals with it is a matter of contention at court.

Step forward The Wake and her companion, G’Dala who seem destined to find the eponymous vessels of the title and have it out with ‘em. Vessels that will enable the return of the ‘Age of Dull Light’ somehow.

In this second issue we get to see more of the inner workings of the courtly world of Stratum, as well as how the best they have are stumped by such modern, everyday day objects such as a skateboard or even a piggy bank. Or whether these objects are simply everyday objects at all. We also get a glimpse into some of their customs; the ‘Mind-keepers’ that interpret dreams claiming to look into the future.

There’s swashbuckling as well as Machiavellian going-ons and The Wake’s very own dream quest, all the while encouraging the reader to start wondering who this goddess, The Wake, and the central character in this series really is? Quite a lot going on then, and aptly illustrated by Rafael Desquitado Jr from a Dave Cook script. Desquitado Jr even offers up his own table on Cook’s script as an added extra, showing how effective scenes, such as the one depicting the destruction of half a town by a giant teddy bear, come about.

It’s an interesting concept; an ancient world of magic clashing somehow with our own world, all the while with a nameless goddess at it’s centre. It’s also full of mystery and unsolved questions that should have readers coming back for more when the third issue arrives.

Vessels #2 is available now online from Card Shark Comics via comichaus.com

Author: Olly MacNamee

Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn’t know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at olly.macnamee@blogspot.co.uk. Or don’t.