Space Boy 11

Writer / Artist
Space Boy 11
Space Boy 11 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-50671-885-9
  • Volume No.: 11
  • Release date: 2021
  • UPC: 9781506718859
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Stephen McCranie dropped a whole load of revelations about Oliver in Space Boy 9, since when he’s dropped back to the past for an extended flashback with the younger Oliver aboard the Arno spacecraft. It’s been interesting enough, but the feeling over Space Boy 10 was there being a necessity for something massive to compensate for readers already knowing where the flashback was heading.

A tragedy ended the previous volume, and it’s the beginning of the end for the Arno. We’re shown how it is that Oliver remained alive throughout, audaciously told from his viewpoint as he remains isolated yet can hear what’s going on, and the sample art shows him reverting to his pretend Space Boy persona.

Despite the foreknowledge of the broader picture, this is more enjoyable than the earlier flashback sequences, with Oliver as the focus throughout, adjusting to his new circumstances. Despite the tragedy of everyone being lost, McCranie shows there’s also a joy in exploration as the young Oliver adjusts to his circumstances, and these aren’t entirely as have been assumed. Yes, it’s only Oliver alive on the Arno, but neither are there any corpses, which is a mystery, and it’s not just people missing. However, that mystery is neatly, if tragically solved in a way that prevents McCranie having to include a massive amount of corpses in a young adult story. The involvement of the alien last seen contacting Amy in in Space Boy 8 is also intriguing.

Alongside all that McCranie introduces the FCP as it was in the past, and it’s interesting to see how Commander Saito began as a standard security guard. Another character previously seen also has a role, and for the first time we see Space Boy as a hero rather than the boy isolated in space. The surprise is that it’s near enough a superhero sequence in a series that’s steered nowhere near that to date. However, given the nature of Space Boy, it’s far from a conventional superhero scene. In fact with a slightly different treatment it wouldn’t be out of place in a Grant Morrison story.

By the time Space Boy 11 ends McCranie has shone a new light on several characters, and revealed some surprising connections. Pleasingly, it’s also dealt with any doubts that the series had hit the doldrums. Space Boy 12 is something to look forward to, and it’s combined with this in the fourth Space Boy Omnibus.