Ministry of Space - Warren Ellis & Chris Weston

Warren Ellis is a fantastic comics writer. He's the brain behind the Transmetropolitan series, and was written as a character into Powers. Neil Gaiman can make myth and legend out of superheroes; Ellis does it with science fiction.

Ministry of Space is almost more speculative fiction than science fiction; it's an alternative history based on some research and some ideas from actual think tanks and scientists. The premise is that at the end of World War 2, the Brits got all the German scientists from Peenemunde, blew up the rocket facilities so the Russians wouldn't have anything left to find, and then started up a Ministry of Space. Manned spaceflight by 1950, lunar landing by 1956, Mars by 1969.

The illustrations by Weston are wonderful, particularly his retro-future technology, which is detailed and looks real. The afterword by Ellis is a must-read; he explains his inspiration for the story, and shows how close Britain could have come to this reality, if only they'd had the resources after the war. It also sets Ellis apart as a good writer, rare in the comics world (particularly in comparison with the aforementioned Powers). Here's somebody who's serious about his stuff and has an excellent execution of an excellent idea.

It's a slim book (collecting only three issues), but easily among the best of the comics I've read this year. The only complaint is that Ellis moves so quickly through the story, but then it might have gotten bogged down in minor details otherwise. It seems to be a complete story arc, so I don't know if there's more following this. I do have a few other Ellis books waiting in the queue, so we'll see if my judgment holds true.

Fed to jonathan's brain | August 02, 2006 | Comments (0)


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