Descending Outlands #1 (Evil Kat Studios)

Descending OutlandsBest known for his colouring work on British Indie titles such as Red Mask from Mars and Gutter Town, Shaun Dobie brings his own ideas to the table with Descending Outlands #1, a sci-fi book about intergalactic thieves who stumble into a galaxy spanning manhunt. But will this book leave readers starstruck or will it be a criminal read?

Descending OutlandsPublisher: Evil Kat Studios
Writer: Shaun Dobie
Artists: Alvero De Cossio, Paul Oliveira (Pencils), Shaun Dobie(Colours), Vincent Hunt(Letterer)
Price: £4 from Descending Outlands website

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Descending Outlands #1 follows the story of Nate Avery and the crew of his ship the Everett Young, a gang of professional thieves whose mantra for any job is to ‘get in, get out and then get paid’. However, their lives are turned on their heads when their most recent job lands them in possession of a mysterious crate, whose contents are a mysterious young woman with a childlike temperament and explosive, unusual powers. Now on the run from not only the local authority, the Fountain, but also a dangerous foe with similar powers, Nate and his crew descend to the Outlands of known space, where more trouble arises than they hope for.

Shaun Dobie has created a slice of classic space-based science-fiction packed full of familiar tropes from Star Wars to Star Trek. However it’s greatest similarity is to Joss Whedon’s Firefly, with it’s charming rogue of a captain and mysterious female cargo. Although this means it’s not the most original tale, this realisation doesn’t detract from the fact it is incredibly well written, with fantastic pacing and terrific characterisation allowing the reader to be kept invested in the book.

Visually Dobie’s excellent colours give the whole thing a slick polish and help elevate the quality of the book above the norm. He gives Descending Outlands a very organic, understated feel, which may seem contradictory to such a futuristic story, but actually enhances the book greatly.

The art in this first issue, sees artists Alvero De Cossio and  Paul Oliveira provide a chapter each which gives the issue a rather inconsistent feel, as the quality between the two pencillers differs greatly. While De Cossio delivers some strong work which gives off a very CG vibe, Oliveria struggles to match the quality of this first chapter and it impacts the quality of the book as a whole, which is a shame.

pd_review3“While the plot behind the book isn’t entirely original, the fantastic writing and [mostly] out of this world art means Descending Outlands has enough of a unique flavour to be worth a read – especially for those looking for slice of classic space-based sci-fi!”