Monday, November 15, 2010

TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Reviews by Tommy Hancock
“Voices-A Captain Future Story”
Written by Mike Bullock

Art by Norm Lanting
From Moonstone Books

I am probably a moderate fan of science fiction pulp compared to most pulp fans.  I cut my teeth on the hero and detective stories of the age, so that is where my interests lie most, but I also enjoy me some good sci fi pulp.  And that is exactly what we have in this story detailing an adventure of Captain Future and his Futuremen, written by Mike Bullock and scheduled for release in an upcoming Moonstone publication.

"Voices" is a story of encounters by a space station, a science colony, and a probe with a strange anomaly.  The powers-that-be are unsure about what this thing is, so they send their best team, who happens to be in the area, out to investigate.  Of course, that is Captain Future, his buddy The Brain (literally the greatest scientist ever contained in a mechanical box apparatus), Otho, the synthetic man, and Grag, the almost human robot.  What Future and his team encounter is the crux of the story, but it involves contact, conflict, knowledge, and a great moral at the end.

This story is complete with every good science fiction trope a kid of the seventies and eighties like me was trained to look for.  This reads like an excellent episode of STAR TREK in several regards, but stands beyond that.  Bullock uses dialogue here not only to stage witty banter between Otho and Grag, but for the purpose dialogue was meant for.  Not filling the air with words, but filling the mind of the reader with the story's characters.  Eyes may be the windows to our soul, but Bullock's narrative and dialogue indicate there are other ways to get in as well.

The art is atmospheric and engaging.  And on some levels, downright creepy in that the shading and manipulation of black and white make parts of the images look as if they have the potential for life...way too cool.  Lanting captures not only the feel of the stories, but adds a cinematic flare to the whole affair.

Five out of Five Tips of the Hat-Yup, wow!