PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of STRAYED #1 from Dark Horse Comics. Available Wednesday, August 21st, the creative team for this issue features writing from Carlos Giffoni, art/colors from Juan Doe, and lettering from Matt Krotzer.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of…
Most cats have nine lives, but the fates of billions rest on this feline.
In the far future, a military-industrial complex reigns over all humanity and actively destroys distant alien worlds. The galaxy’s only hope can be found through an unlikely pair: an astral-projecting cat named Lou and his loving owner Kiara. Trading nine lives for the well-being of billions, their revolt is a battle for love, friendship, compassion, and the soul of humanity.
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
Dark Horse and STRAYED creators, you had me at “Cat with Astral Projection.” Not only that, the book also features a device which translates brainwaves into words. You know what that means? We get a talking cat! I’ve often wondered, as I’m sure many people have, just what is my beloved pet saying? The way Lou the cat speaks actually seems quite plausible. One thing is for sure…this device looks like it is going to bring some conflict to the series.
Carlos Giffoni has caught my attention. Not just because I love science fiction and cats, but STRAYED #1 makes for quite an intriguing tale. While reading through STRAYED, I experienced a few emotions and I’m figuring out how to best explain them. At first I felt pretty captivated by the opening salvo of what’s sure to be a well thought-out, vast universe, fully-developed characters, and a bit of sci-fi shock and awe.
Giffoni does a wonderful job at laying a foundation for the title, though I am left with a few lingering questions (likely to be explained in subsequent issues). STRAYED gives you a unique sci-fi story, characters with whom you may instantly love/hate/question, but most of all, thanks to Carlos and his writing, it has heart. And I’m certain we’ve only scratched the surface.
Illustrator Juan Doe gives the eyes a spectacular two-page spread early in the issue (pictured above), a brilliant landscape peppered with imagery of different worlds and their inhabitants. But surprisingly (and fortunately for the readers) there are a number of more splash pages like this, all of which continue to put this vast universe on display.
And the colors! Oh how I love the color choices for the splash pages. It just adds to the appeal of taking in some wildly imaginative artwork. Juan creates moments where you feel the warmth, the actual environment both he and Carlos are attempting to convey. When I was about halfway through this issue, I thought to myself, “I actually think the colors needed to be done by Juan for this to be as enjoyable as it is.” With the futuristic setting and mysterious, unknown worlds, Doe not only visualizes the look of the world that is STRAYED, but captures the essence of each environment, each setting, each landscape through his expressive color work.
I will admit that other than the interesting layout for the panels in the first few pages, it was Matt Krotzer’s lettering that instantly hit me. The things you would expect from a good letterer were there: nice placement, good spacing in dialogue bubbles, nice tails on bubbles, good usage of captions boxes, etc. These are the thing you come to expect from a good letterer. But a great letterer? Matt showed me what’s up!
The main thing that impressed me the most is how he took the additional time in creating individual dialogue bubbles, giving each character a distinct voice. Not just one or two characters, EVERY person, animal, or creature spoke in a way that was distinguishable and unique. He did all of this and it wasn’t confusing, it didn’t seem excessive given how many styles he produced in doing so, and it made for a better and more enjoyable read. Krotzer is proof you should NEVER underestimate or under-value a letterer.
STRAYED is the cat’s meow! STRAYED instantly grabs you, unapologetically immerses you into the narrative, and leaves you spinning as you take in this sci-fi marvel. I’m fully onboard to traveling alongside Lou and exploring this remarkable universe. Intriguing story, eye-gasmic illustrations, and a letterer going the extra mile, all make for a series to watch and a must-have title on your pull list. Let’s get STRAYED!
STRAYED #1 can be pre-ordered NOW
and available at your local comic shop and
online retailers Wednesday, August 21st!
Writer – Carlos Giffoni
Artist – Juan Doe
Letterer – Matt Krotzer