"Falling Skies" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
2011,104 Pages, $9.99
Trade Paperback released on June 21th, 2011
Writing a comic book tie-in for a TV show can be pretty tricky. Sometimes you can end up with a hit like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other times you could end up with something like Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. (Seriously, there was a TV show and a comic by that name. Look it up.) It can be a great way to promote a new series though which is just what TNT did when they partnered with Dark Horse Comics to release the prologue to Falling Skies, their new sci-fi series premiering later this month. Originally released as a bi-weekly webcomic, Dark Horse has collected all the pages in this trade paperback.
Falling Skies tells the story of an alien invasion where the planet has been taken over. Think War of the Worlds, but the aliens didn't die because of microscopic bacteria. Instead they're roaming the streets with big robots, enslaving children and killing humans. A group of survivors is trying to get by in the Boston area. Former history professor Tom Mason (who will be played by Noah Wyle in the TV show) is among them, along with his three sons. One of the boys gets kidnapped by the invaders and Tom vows to get him back. Meanwhile, he helps the other refugees with food runs and other missions.
This book accomplishes what it set out to do, which is act as an introduction to the Falling Skies TV series, but it does so in a rather lazy way. Paul Tobin provided the story for the comic, but his scripting is very stilted and feels unnatural. While I love the fact that they got a comic writer for this, I would have probably preferred it if they got a writer from the show to come up with the story and then maybe have some help from someone in funny books to draft the script. That way you'd have something that would be within the tone of the show and then tailored to this medium.
The art, on the other hand, is quite good. This is a rarity for the tie-in market as publishers don't drop the cash on a decent artist. Juan Ferreyra is much more than decent. When you have to draw a book like this, you're forced to make your characters look like the actors that will portray them on the small screen. Many times this comes out disastrously. It also limits the artist because they can't put their own spin on a character as each person has to look a certain way. Ferreyra doesn't seem to have these limitations. He's able to convey emotion in each of the characters as well as deal out the action during the big fight scenes.
Falling Skies looks like it's going to be a pretty cool TV series. This trade paperback is set to release the same week the show premieres,so it's great timing. I'll have to see the pilot to see if the book is necessary reading. I have a feeling that it's only going to be something that's read by die-hard fans of the show. That being said, it's still an enjoyable read.
Previews for Falling Skies can be found at TNT's official site.
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