By Cyril Bunt
This first issue of Faster Than Light begins by introducing the reader to inventor Dr Saul Frederickson, the man responsible for space travel at the speed of light becoming possible - or at least, as he insists, the man who created the formula. After the semantics are explained during his interview on the "Charlie Live Show", the interview pushes forward by explaining that “spaceships now have the capacity to travel to new solar systems within a very short time". At this point, I’m hooked by what possibilities are going to become available.
We next meet two characters in a shuttle on their way to dock. There’s a sense that writer Brian Haberlin is a fan of Star Trek, with references to Captain Kirk and his ‘Alien Port habits’, plus a mention of the Star Ship Enterprise. The art from both Brian Haberlin and Gerrod Vandyke is beautiful to see, from the facial expressions in the early panels to the visually compelling space piece on page eight.
As these two characters arrive on the ship, the reader can instantly pick up tension between the crew members, especially between Captain Anderson and the former captain of this ship, Commander Sally Grissom. Their conversation is short and sharp with just enough respect to make me wonder if their relationship will be like that of Kirk and Spock. Soon after the characters refer to not one, but two secret missions that this crew is taking on. There’s plenty of show and certainly not too much tell in the story's early stages. This is the point that is truly beginning to grab the reader’s attention.
This is followed by our first chance to watch a meeting between the high ranking crew members and the council members. Yet again there’s friction between the Captain and the rest of the council board. Time isn’t on their side, a point the Captain concedes to as a board member draws the council's attention holographic image of particular importance. I have my own suspicions that the Captain is aware of this hologram before the council member singles the Captain out to pay close attention.
We're soon drawn forward to another briefing. This time the crew is granted the opportunity to view the first hyper-accurate scan of our solar system. It turns out that the crew bears witness to a new discovery as well. The Captain takes the time to remind everyone of the adventure they are about to embark on. This moment makes me freshly aware that the story being told here is of great importance to Brian Haberlin, and again I must reference the art and the level of detail used. It takes a special and well accomplished skill to create this look of the scan, whilst having the crew standing to observe.
When we're finally returned back to the "Charlie Live Show", Dr Saul Frederickson is faced with a crucial question that demands answers. This story has really gripped me, and I think there’s going to be much more to this then a basic search and discover science fiction story.