“I’m feeling strangely pixelated today. Maybe I should call my doctor?”

Nova Phase #1

SLG (2013)

WRITER: Matthew Ritter

ARTIST: Adam Elbahtimy

EDITOR: Jef Bambas

Veronica Darkwater wants off this backwater planet she’s on but her job as a bounty hunter is balanced with having a kind heart, and that’s not good for filling up your ticket jar. Her latest bounty might have been enough even after expenses if it didn’t cause damage to the bar she found him in and maybe a patron or two. (Nobody died at least.) However, a couple of new arrivals are about to enter her world. What are they searching for and how will she be involved?

What they got right: The art style, as you can tell from the cover, is pixelated art–a throwback to NES cutscenes and DOS game story images. It’s a relatively new style and I’ve seen it on YouTube “synth” music channels and the retro cyberpunk games that get promoted on them. It works really well here, not simply being a visual gimmick but selling the world of Nova Phase. Veronica is an interesting character. She’s got the skills but she’s also a good person and doesn’t want to have a reputation as dangerous. The two parties, potentially at odds, are introduced more or less okay since knowing who they are isn’t the point of the story. It’s to introduce Veronica and tell her story before the rails are removed.

What they got wrong: Admittedly the art style may not be for everyone but that’s the risk you take. The joke about having two quotes at the start of the book kind of breaks the fourth wall, which doesn’t happen in the book. I also don’t get the Mark Twain quote but maybe that makes more sense later on.

What I think overall: Nova Phase takes a visual risk that pays off, but more importantly it isn’t gimmick over story. I like Veronica’s design and this is a series I wouldn’t mind checking out in the future if there is more than one issue.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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