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Fight For The Space Colonies In “The Saturn Effect: Alpha I and II”

The first two parts of The Saturn Effect: Alpha, written by Chris Moses, kick off a promising sci-fi story full of colonial turmoil, strange religions, and futuristic tech. The plot follows siblings Alpha and Ri, citizens on an orbital satellite space colony, as they are guided on a mission by a mysterious and unseen benefactor. Along the way they meet another set of siblings, twin brothers Glass and Bones, part of a group known as The Pure, and through their adventures we see the unraveling conflict between Earth and its space colonies.

The Saturn Effect doesn’t rely heavily on exposition at all, which makes for a really interesting and immersive reading experience. We are dropped right in the middle of the adventures of the sibling duo as well as a greater colonial conflict we watch unfold around them, with bits of lore picked up along the way through gradual explanation and context clues. This works well to make the story immersive, but there are aspects in which I think the comic can get a little confusing, with a lot of factions, characters, and sci-fi jargon. However, I was able to understand and connect with the emotional core of the story – the protests and freedom fighting of the Titan locals against the oppressive, Earth-ruled colonial government. The same goes for Alpha and Ri, who were entertaining and likable protagonists that make it clear their goal is to liberate the colonies from Earth. While I was left wanting a little bit more time dedicated to their place in this wider world, it was continuously engaging watching them banter and work together on their missions. I was also really drawn in by the familial and cultural struggle between Glass and Bones – one aggressive and prejudiced but desperate in his goal to get to Earth, and the other passive and kind, forming a relationship with a Titan, or “Mutie”. His brother and the rest of their people, The Pure, seem to look down on them despite also seemingly seeking freedom from Earth’s colonization, setting up multiple sides in this political struggle. This truly feels like a solid start to a complex and deep narrative with lots of interesting conflicts already appearing.

In addition, so much of the story is shown to the audience visually, with lots of detailed and dynamic panels that really bring the space colony and its denizens to life. Even when the specifics of the sci-fi worldbuilding are hard to grasp through the dialogue alone, they are almost always made expertly clear through visual storytelling. Alpha is full of rich artwork that makes the background feel both very alive and very alien. It harkens back to some retro feeling sci-fi aesthetics. while still feeling modern and maintaining its own style. It also does a great job and conveying movement, combat, and action, as well as lively character expressions.

It’s hard to say exactly where The Saturn Effect: Alpha is going to take us across the stars, but I don’t mind that at all. While I think digging into the past of Alpha and Ri a little more would have strengthened this opening, I have no doubt that we’ve only scratched the surface of what this story has to offer. There are a lot of unknowns about this new world, but as with most sci-fi, that’s half the fun, and I much prefer that this leaves me wanting more rather than inundating the reader with tons of exposition like some science fiction tends to. As the characters of “The Saturn Effect” would say, things are looking pretty “intergalactic.”

Check out The Saturn Effect I and II – More info of future releases are available on its Kickstarter. Would you ever consider living on a space colony? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

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Harrison Ostrosky

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