Space Boy 12

Writer / Artist
Space Boy 12
Space Boy 12 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-50672-577-2
  • Volume No.: 12
  • Release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781506725772
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

All of the previous two volumes and half of the one before that formed a flashback sequence running to almost six hundred pages, which is some dedication to a story on Stephen McCranie’s part. It told how Oliver was the only survivor of an incident on the Arno spacecraft ten years previously, how the FCP was fatally compromised long before the present day, and how an alien that might previously have appeared benign is perhaps anything but. At least as far as Amy’s concerned it’s referred to as the Wanderer.

Continuing directly on from Space Boy 11, McCranie uses the first sixteen pages to tie up the flashback neatly, explaining some nuts and bolts, although exactly how Oliver transfers his consciousness back to Earth is an explanation for another time. After that it’s back to the present day and where McCranie left off after the Homecoming dance. Amy and Tammie are missing, although we know they’ve been abducted by the FCP, and there’s an explanation for Amy’s resilience in the face of terrifying events. It’s useful for what she experiences here, as is her talent for associating flavours with people. There’s a long scene with the cleverly named FCP head Peter Langley, during which Amy’s sensitivity to flavours is overwhelmed by contradictory blends that should never be attempted.

Whether intentionally or otherwise, McCranie has a slow, slow, rush approach to plotting, and Space Boy 12 hits the rush mode, with the greater plot moving forward at rocket pace. There are some resonant moments here, such as Amy seeing Oliver as he really is for the first time, and the nice disclosure that for all their efforts at secrecy over the years, the FCP now looks to have lost control of the agenda on several fronts. A reporter is asking questions and the FCP have been forced to vacate leaving some hardware behind.

The cover is a scene considerably removed from anything seen in Space Boy so far, and McCranie’s been so captivating that when the character is reached it’ll be a complete surprise. It’s clever and it’s sweet, and it is someone previously introduced, so can you figure it out before it’s revealed? And it’s not been mentioned for a while how empathic McCranie’s cartooning is. These are people designed, for the most part, for you to like them, and there’s even a sympathetic quality to those known to be compromised. While much of the story is told via figures within basic backgrounds there are some stunning locations here, good use of silhouettes, and if it’s cute you want, the volume ends with some more Li’l Amy strips.

This is a really good volume covering a lot of bases and in some ways opening up a new world for Space Boy 13. It’s also found as part of the bulky Space Boy Omnibus 4.