Review: Untitled Generic Space Comedy #1 (Lab Rat Comics)

For his follow up to the award winning Red Rocket Comet Matt Garvey heads into outer space with Untitled Generic Space Comedy #1. Joined by artist John McFarlane and colourist Allison Hu they bring us the story of two intergalactic slacker truck drivers looking for some excitement in the depths of outer space. Can this be yet another success from the mind of the Garvey-verse or will it be as ‘generic’ as the title suggests?

Publisher: Lab Rat Comics
Writer: Matt Garvey
Artist: John McFarlane (Art), Allison Hu (Colours), Rob Guillory (Cover)
Price: £3.00 from www.mattgarvey.co.uk/shop


Untitled Generic Space Comedy (UGSE) #1 tells the story of Jim and his partner-in-crime Scott, who operate as galactic haulage drivers, transporting genetically enhanced flying Buffalo Wings across deep space. However for Jim, this is not enough. He finds himself itching for excitement beyond his mundane day to day life in the ever peaceful Intergalactic Space Federation. When Jim finds himself devolving a fragile peace between bitter enemies at a bar, he may come to realise he should be careful what he wishes for, as he and Scott find themselves conscripted into an army preparing for an intergalactic war.

With UGSE #1 Matt Garvey has crafted a fun and hilarious story, pulling out some of the more humorous sensibilities we have not seen since Chunks, to give us a comic which has a Clerks or Red Dwarf meets Starship Troopers vibe to it. Compared to his early work on Chunks, UGSE really shows the progression and evolution of Garvey’s writing. The sharp wit and fizzing dialogue of the lead characters, feel sharp and realistic, which gives us a set of fully fleshed out characters who are incredibly sympathetic and likeable – despite their often outrageous and questionable actions.

Every part of the story feels incredibly light-hearted, despite the comics mature (and eventually grim content), and is played for laughs from start to finish – including a brief break of the fourth wall. If there is one concern, it is that at the start, the story lacks a bit of a direction and just ambles along. However as the story develops, and the concept fleshes itself out it becomes something akin to ‘Animal House in the Space Army’ and by the final pages has earned enough goodwill with the reader to make it worth a return trip.

The art, meanwhile, is as terrific as the writing, with newcomer John McFarlane offering up a really incredible looking and very contemporary style. It’s a real step up from your ‘average indie book; and feels much more like an IDW or Titan Comics book, which feels absolutely on point with the story Garvey is telling. This is best exemplified in the minutiae of every panel as McFarlane offers up a serious abundance of details, particularly in the crowd sequence where every millimetre is filled with an incredibly array of visually unique alien designs. 

This work is only enhanced when mixed with Alison Hu’s gorgeous colours, which helps to give the title’s look a very traditional British comic look akin to Roy of the Rovers or, more appropriately, Dan Dare. While the cover from Chew’s Rob Guillory sets a high bar for Garvey and McFarlane to live up to, but they definitely live up to this challenge! And it really gives the book a premium feel.

Untitled Generic Space Comedy #1 is a fantastically enjoyable comic and yet another strong entry to Garvey’s ever growing roster of outstanding indie comics. With an engrossing, laugh-a-minute story and some stunning visuals, this new title appears to be anything but ‘generic’. An unfussy, but consistently funny comic which you can switch off, unwind and not have to focus on too hard. If you are a fan of comedy pairings like Jay and Silent Bob or Lister and Rimmer, then this is definitely a a comic you will want to check out.

 

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