Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have worked together on 100 Bullets for 100 issues and are inseparable. When you read Spaceman you can see why. The setting is post apocalyptic, the artwork unique and very much sci fi fantasy and the language is Azzarello’s own. The pair have worked together for so long that they know each other’s style and they have created a well crafted futuristic tale of a world gone mad. The basic premise of this book focuses around Orsen who is a genetically engineered human designed for long journeys to space. He is no longer in space and is trying to make a living on earth as a scrap metal supplier. All of a sudden he becomes embroiled in a reality television kidnapping situation and develops a fatherly love for the hostage, Tara. This issue marks the final chapter of the book.
This book is difficult to read because it has a unique lexicon, for example the words brained, splane and scope replace the words thought, explain and see. It’s very colloquial and takes time to get used to. The plot turns in different directions and you lose track of who are the bad guys. I feel that the style and universe take precedent over the actual plot direction. I do like the flashback sequences to Mars and the other Spacemen but I question their relevance. The art fits the dialogue brilliantly and is very futuristic and strange. Orson’s face is perpetually confused but the other characters are well animated. The action sequences are humorously animated as limbs seem to fly amok. The writing and art are well balanced in this well built universe.
The underlying themes of the book revolve around reality television, the shunned from society and the love between a father and child. It’s a classic tale of the big brute finding paternal love for a lost young girl giving his life meaning. The universe provides an exciting backdrop and the flashbacks to his past life give a sub plot revolving around past and future friendships. Unfortunately the relationships are not well explored and are just confusing bearing no real relevance to the present events. Orson and Tara seem to have an emotional bond but there isn’t really a reason for it. There is a sombre ending to the book and the loose end sub plots are left untied. The only character you develop feelings for is left empty hearted and is disappointing. Maybe Orson’s relationship with Tara is not allowed to exist in the unjust unrealistic reality world Azzarello and Risso have created.