The world’s of science fiction and comedy make awkward bedfellows. For every Red Dwarf or Hitchhikers Guide, there are a dozen Hyperdrives (and Red Dwarf Season 7!). But in the world of comics, there seems to be more synergy, and in the world of the UK small press scene in particular, there are few are funnier sci-fi books than the adventures of space rogue Lou Scannon and the crew of the Raging Hormone!
Publisher: Flintlock Publishing
Writer: Jim Bampfield, Kris Carter, Dan Harris
Artist: Dan Harris (Pencils, Inks), Jim Bampfield, Kris Carter (Colouring) Hde (Lettering)
Price: £1.49 per issue from ComiXology
Our rating: [star rating=”4″]
Lou Scannon and his motley crew are part of that great tradition of rogues on spaceships, that contractually oblige us to make comparisons to Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy – see our reviews of Descending Outlands and Salvagers for how slavishly we stick to this cliche!
However, despite having plenty of similarities with those other sci-fi series, co-creators Jim Bampfield, Kris Carter and Dan Harris have chosen to make Lou that little bit different by filling their book with a rich vein of humour that makes it feel more like a sit-com than a comic. This means that instead of following the herd of space rogues into a world of Whedon-esque snarkery, Lou Scannon feels more like something from the pen of Douglas Adams or Red Dwarf’s Doug Grant & Rob Naylor as they create a series that still has all the sci-fi action and adventure you would expect, but with a fine collection of knob jokes to make you laugh along the way!
The over arching story for these first 7 issues sees Scannon on the search for a link to his lost past as he tries to track down a mysterious stranger who has the same medallion as he does. However the writers don’t worry about getting bogged down with exposition, and prefer to give you a quick heads up on the characters via a full page intro, and then on with the action. In the first issue, this means Lou getting rescued from a top security space prison thanks to his lycanthropic pal Vic, while in subsequent issues they visit a bar where genders gets reversed, discover how Lou came to acquire his spaceship in the first place and Lou ends up inadvertently becoming a god! There is also a superb Aliens parody/homage in issue 4 which sees them answering a distress call and rescuing some people stuck in a mysterious space lab with some rather familiar dialogue and set-ups!
Bampfield and Carter, along with artist Dan Harris bring a fantastic wit and irreverence to this well worn genre. Their tone is very British, with tons of sarcasm and just the right amount of crudeness to make it interesting. They also manage to poke fun at this often ridiculous genre, while also being completely reverential of it along the way, which is not easy, but makes for a much more authentic read than it otherwise might have.
The eclectic crew of The Raging Hormone, combine aliens and robots with the aforementioned werewolf Vic, (which allows things to get a bit more violent and gory when needed) and it is their interactions and characterisations which make the book such fun to read. They are of course aided by the fantastic artwork of Dan Harris, whose cartoonish and expressive style helps make the jokes really come to life. It can be a bit rough around the edges at time, but the use of grey washes, instead of digital colour, helps make it feel very fresh and gives it a slightly old fashioned and vintage charm to it which seems to further amplify those links to classic British sci-fi comedy, rather than being told in the current indie style du jour.
So if you’re after some classic sci-fi with plenty of belly laughs, then Lou Scannon will not dissapooint. Now if only they would hurry up and finish the next issue, the galaxy is waiting for more!