Title: Earthlight volume 1
Written by: Stuart Moore
Illustrated by: Christopher Schons
Normally on a space colony when one wishes to ask a girl out they would say “would you like to take a walk in the solar park?” or “want to play around in zero gravity?” What does 15 year-old Damon Cole say? “Do you cut your arms?” That’s right, step into the world of Earthlight, a space colony with the same cliched and terribly executed drama that you’d find on your daytime soaps on Earth.
Damon has just moved to the space colony Earthlight so that his African American father and British mother could move out of the repression of Earth and have a better life. Damon’s mother happens to be Earthlight’s education instructor which causes him to be the butt of the punk student’s jokes and abuse. He soon meets a “mysterious” girl who just so happens to be on the receiving end of her punk boyfriend’s hand. Will Damon convince Lise to leave her boyfriend to go out with him?
Damon’s father who is the newly appointed chief administrator of Earthlight tells Damon that he must work out his problems by himself. Xan, the abusive boyfriend dares Damon to climb the observatory before the sunlight reaches the colony. To do so would be extremely dangerous and if caught, Damon and his family may be forced off the colony and abdicate the positions they fought so hard for. Nevertheless, Damon accepts the dare and climbs to the top hoping that Xan will get off his back if he completes the task. In the end Xan plans to pummel Damon after Lise leaves him however is met with an unfortunate fate when they lose track of what time it is. Having to leave the colony for medical reasons, Xan is officially out of their lives.
The first volume ends with Damon missing the school field trip to the power satellites due to a cold. During the trip Damon’s mother does something very out of character that will effect the future of manned space exploration. It’s hard to say whether I actually liked this first volume. Christopher Schon’s artwork is beautifully detailed, anything that reminds me of Planetes is a plus. However, the story meanders too much and is quite predictable until the last chapter. On the other hand it’s standard fare to include terrorism in any manga influenced sci-fi novel. As Damon’s father says, if Earthlight doesn’t improve in the next volume, “they can kiss my black ass!”
read a preview here.