Space Ace #1
MV Creations (September, 2003–more on that in a moment)
WRITER: Robert Kirkman
ARTIST: Paulo Borges
COLORISTS: Pat Duke & Grafik Sismik
LETTERER: Lithium Pro
ART DIRECTOR: Matt Tyree
EDITOR: Leanne Shaw
Taking place after the video game Ace and Kimberly try to cure his strange age transformations. They also want to adopt and raise the infanto-ised baby Borf. Kimberly secretly tells the commander about his transformations and he puts Ace/Dexter on leave until a cure is found. Sadly her first attempt just gives Dexter an old man transformation. To make matters worse Borf’s brother has an aging ray and he wants his sibling back!
What they got right: It’s not Don Bluth but a very accurate simulation. The comic seems to be ignoring the Space Ace toons from CBS’s Saturday Supercade, which is neither a plus or a minus for me but I think they improved on some of the show’s concepts. I don’t think he needed a third age group but there’s potential there. Kimberly also gets more to do than be the damsel in distress. That worked for the game given the story’s inspiration but as a comic you’d want her to do more, and giving her some science skills as well as being a good fighter is a good idea that gives her something to do. And she still feels like the girl from the game.
What they got wrong: It’s a good thing they sneak an action scene in there because otherwise this would all be set-up. I know it’s a miniseries and they want to catch up anyone who at best may have only heard about the game, the second to use laserdisks to create a hand-animated video game after Bluth’s Dragon’s Lair, which was also made into a comic at this time, but thanks to 2000s panel sizes it doesn’t leave as much room for the story. It’s a minor nitpick to fill this slot because by then people would be used to it and the cliffhanger works well enough but someone completely unfamiliar with the history might not be as interested.
What else to say: Space Ace and Dragon’s Lair were based on the laserdisk games. I have both for CD-I actually and I haven’t beaten either of them, or Dragon’s Lair 2. Both comics were produced at the same time by MV Creations but the publisher folded before they were complete. Later on Arcana would republish the comics as well as complete both miniseries. I didn’t get the Arcana versions of the ones I had but I did get Arcana’s, which I started reviewing in the early days of this site. I’ll be doing all six in the current format and complete the set.
What I think overall: I’m familiar enough with the franchise to be interested in where this is headed, versus what I remember from the initial reads. The art is really nice and the plot could very well work. I remember enjoying it when I finally got the full story so give it a look.