Space: Above And Beyond–The Gauntlet #1
Topps Comics (May, 1996)
“Running The Gauntlet”
WRITER: Roy Thomas
PENCILER: Yanick Paquette
INKER: Michel Lacombe
COLORING: Digital Chameleon
COVER ART: Markus Harrison
EDITOR: Len Brown
An original story this time. There’s an area of space with a huge asteroid field with a single “tunnel” to safely pass through, the titular “gauntlet”. The aliens have been attacking ships in that stretch and vanishing, so the 58th are sent in to find the base and warn the fleet of possible alien attack. They do manage to ward off one tanker but they have trouble finding the base. While checking out a new asteroid they intercept a message from a Marine previously sent into the area. Shane, Nathan, and Cooper try to locate the recon man, only to find him working with the “chigs” and demanding they switch sides or die.
What they got right: The comic has better pacing than the adaptation, possibly the benefit of being made for the comic rather than adapting a TV episode into comic form. Shane proves to be a good leader, coordinating the team properly and even letting them blow off a bit of steam to remain focused later. She cares about the people under her but knows her job. The idea of a human switching sides has some merit as a story.
What they got wrong: I don’t have the second issue for whatever reason (either because I lost interest in the show by then or Diamond’s record of screwing over smaller stores like the one I was using at the time) so maybe they explain this, but how exactly has he survived? Assuming the base hidden in the asteroid (a smart plan mind you) was designed with the invaders in mind we know water kills them while the human needs water to survive, not to mention whatever nutritional differences they have. The series tries to be a bit more realistic (not to the level of what I hear about The Expanse in TV/web series form mind you), which is why those darn suits are still hard to tell everyone apart, so this kind of stands out. Speaking of those suits, it may work for authenticity but it still leads to the problem of not being able to tell who’s who unless you can see the faceplates or the names on the helmet or they say something in a way unique to that character. Sometimes you sacrifice a bit of authenticity for the story. At least give them something so we can tell them apart.
What I think overall: While I am a bit curious about how the story ends overall this isn’t the series for me. If you liked the show the comic may be what you’re looking for however.