Space Boy 17

Writer / Artist
Space Boy 17
Space Boy 17 review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-50673-696-9
  • Volume No.: 17
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781506736969
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

The homecoming dance at the local high school was about as badly trashed as could be, what with people disappearing, rumours that one attendee was a robot, the police clearing the place in the name of security, and a cyborg going missing. It’s all pretty much the province of science fiction, which is why the high school kids are having a hard time putting things together. Over the last couple of volumes small groups of students have actually and separately hit on some truth, which they don’t believe because it’s too far beyond their understanding of normal. Cassie and one group were seen in Space Boy 16, and this volume opens with Zeph chatting with Cassie’s former boyfriend David, pictured on the cover. Again, they don’t know it, but between them much of the truth is there. And least we forget, it might have occurred in Space Boy 9, but the leisurely pace of Space Boy means it’s only a little more than a week in the past.

Despite what the title may suggest, either as SF or insult, Stephen McCranie ensures Space Boy is grounded by character. As an indication, each of the seventeen volumes to date has featured a different person as the cover portrait, and we’re a fair way from having covered the entire cast yet. Plus, McCranie keeps introducing new people. They’re complex, and have issues, but most are fundamentally decent human beings, and the insights McCranie delivers via them are heartwarming. An example would be Qiana’s view of external and internal injuries as per the sample art.

By and large, this is quite a downbeat volume. Qiana is always sad, Amy’s not having a good time, David has a gap in his life, so perhaps more contemplative than sad, and of course Oliver is trapped millions of miles away. This could be described by words, but McCranie’s illustrations of people have a tremendous emotional weight to them despite being relatively simple drawings.

During the final sequence McCranie delves into the FCP technology. Unsurprisingly, much of is down to the genius of Dr. Kim, although not the sinister uses and weaponising, but the creative explanations make sense, leaping feasibly forward from the science of today.

Space Boy is a drama that rolls out at a slow pace, but the mistakes of earlier volumes concentrating too much on events that don’t seem to matter are no longer being made. While little actually moves forward, the spaces in between are also becoming irresistible. There are revelations, though, in Space Boy 18.