Man From Space #2 by Marc Jackson / by Alec Berry

tumblr_m16w5t1KPd1rpyskio1_1280.jpg

"The intergalactic comic book adventures of an outer-space asshole and his Goldfish, Michael!" That's the tagline, and this issue supplies more of that as the "outer-space asshole" ends up in a deathtrap, escapes, and stumbles into another by the issue's end.

I read Man From Space's first issue a few months back on one of my early reviewing assignments for Spandexless, and I should have just kept it that way. While a charm and innocence can be seen in the printing stains of this comic book, I found any sort of return to Man From Space detrimental to said charm. The return trip just makes you realize, even more than before, how aimless and, honestly, annoying this comic is. I like fun, and I like adventures, but Man From Space just offers up a 5th grader's math class-made comic book story, complete with poor telling and a plot based on spontaneous decisions, reading like a classroom game of telephone. I wouldn't recommend this. Straight out.

But allow me to be fair.

I do enjoy the visuals in this--the only overwhelming positive in my first review. Creator Marc Jackson uses an interesting style of  Microsoft Paint meets Photoshop meets a knowledge of graphic design to accomplish this look that screams minimalism at work, and I find it comforting and bubblegum enough to go along with the digital comics expansion and culture. The look also provides most of the charm I was typing about before through its seeming simplicity and, even, doable tone. But I've already seen this at this point by reading issue one. I'm over it. Charming still, but done to me. I want the next step, and Man From Space #2 doesn't take any next step. Instead, I could swear this was the same comic I'd already read. Although, I'll say Jackson did improve on his script. This issue had a more rounded feel. The comic felt like a single issue, with a beginning, middle and end.

But, really, should I praise something for as expected, and necessary, as that?

I don't know. Maybe I'm just being harsh, but in a sea of such good comics currently available, why not be harsh? This could clearly be better and strive for more. Why let it slide?

This comic book could be fun. The story involves enough wackiness and comic book exaggeration to at least be interesting and measurable, yet it's not. The writing comes across as plain and uninspired. Every character lacks development and sounds the same, which only drops lower when you realize the dialogue sounds like someone huffed helium and stood two steps from you, mouth agape. But that aside, what's this story about? An adventure, I get it, but why? Why's this adventure interesting? What makes this adventure different than the 14 others I've read or watched? Nothing. And even as a humor comic, there's nothing really funny here. The jokes are just ...

"Unlucky fellas. Me and Michael are semi-pro clone bowlers."

Eh?

I just found Man From Space #2 more of what I read months ago, and now past the kindness of "oh, hey, free review copy" I can say this work lacks a needed sense of craft as well as destination. It really just feels amateur, in tone and storytelling. But above that, Man From Space doesn't hold a high goal for itself, which goes back to a point I made reviewing an Oni Press book: in the world of independent comics, with all options open, this is what gets made? Man, that's depressing to me as a reader.

Man From Space can certainly be about what it's about. It can keep all the goofy lines and wacky plot points and be absolutely fine, but without some sort of specific thought or interesting technique in the storytelling, the book comes off as, well, dumb. The artwork approaches inspiration, but good graphic design simply isn't enough to sustain two issues of nonsense in the text. Man From Space just reads like flat characters following a standardized, sinking path. You'll forget it in 3 minutes.

TL;DR: Man From Space #2 offers up a 5th grader's math class-made comic book story, complete with poor telling and a plot based on spontaneous decisions, reading like a classroom game of telephone.

Man From Space #2 was written and illustrated by Marc Jackson and was self-published under the name Weirdo Comics. You can order a copy through Jackson’s website.

A review copy of Man From Space #2 was graciously provided to Spandexless by the creator.