Monday, March 14, 2011

Back Issue Alphabet: M is for Marvel Premiere #41 (1978)

Marvel Premiere #41: Seeker 3000 (Doug Moench, Tom Sutton)

At an unspecified time in the future, mankind has colonized our neighboring planets but has failed to “attain a safe warp drive and escape the solar-system.” This is a bummer, because the sun is about to “go nova” and mankind’s hope lies in the ship Seeker 3000 and a telepath who can generate warp fields. There is so much non-science in this book that it will burn the retinas of anyone possessing anything more than a high-school level understanding of physics.

Meaningful science fiction makes us evaluate our morals and beliefs by putting them into hypothetical (and often hyperbolic) situations. Seeker 3000 takes it’s ship design from Star Trek, but little else. The hero of the piece brings up idealism once or twice, but never actually mentions what his ideals are.

Protagonist Jordan Shaw is full of righteous indignation, but he doesn’t fight injustice and favouritism so much as he replaces it with his own brand. A villain can be a dark reflection of a hero, but when the hero’s actions are identical to the villain’s it’s just awkward, and the reader has nobody to root for. If the text box had specifically laid out the fact that he was a “former idealist disillusioned by corruption,” I would have just thought he was “marginally more community oriented yet still power hungry survivalist.”

Although the story is firmly grounded in schlocky, eye-rolling space opera, and the art is strictly service level, the book’s real strength is in the layout. Even with the schlocky sci-fi tropes, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how much story the artist was able to fit into 22 pages. And the story is not crammed haphazardly into corners and edges; the layout is organized and easy to follow.

Apparently, there wasn’t much demand for more Seeker 3000. The ship and her crew disappeared until 1998, when a four issue limited series was released detailed the adventures of the crew 25 years after the initial launch.

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