Review by Ian Keogh
Over the opening volumes of Space Boy Stephen McCranie ensured readers were kept interested, but it was frequently the case that his story didn’t move forward fast enough. There’s no making that accusation here, where the rocket pace continues from Space Boy 12, the plot packed, the characters rich and changes occurring thick and fast.
In one way or another the FCP are behind everything that happens. The opening section concerns the Kokomo police technicians attempting to find out more about the robot they’ve captured, which readers already know originates with the FCP. Amy has now agreed to work with the FCP as it keeps her closer to Oliver, and McCranie ensures we come to know some of the other FCP employees and their concerns a little better.
Amy is once again restored to the lead character here. The spotlight may shift elsewhere for a while, but she affects everyone she’s in contact with, and McCranie’s good at showing how that’s not always direct. Her personality is key, worn on her sleeve, passionate, forgiving and caring, able to see the best in people and bring out the best in them. When the Wanderer returns toward the end there’s almost a psychoanalytical session of Amy’s inner strengths, but cleverly presented in the form of a conflict to prevent it becoming too dry and distant.
McCranie’s art is always emotionally strong, with the melancholy Qiana heartbreakingly portrayed, and he consistently makes interesting choices about white space, rarely used by comic artists. The wider than usual page margins could be construed as a work saving device were they not occurring in chapters running over two hundred pages, so they’re just a stylistic choice, but their use elsewhere is interesting.
It works especially well in the dream sequence near the end where there’s a revelation as to why the FCP appears staffed with fractured personalities. It’s an eye-popping disclosure explaining much about the organisation and their attitudes to take us into Space Boy 14.