Voyagis #1: In a Galaxy…Maybe Not That Far Away?

Satellites are pretty cool.

I have a personal list of favorite comic book authors, those “tried and true” heavy-hitting masterminds who have written a place for themselves in both comic literature history and my pull box. These household names are why I return not just to my local comic shop but also to the characters, storylines, worlds, and ideologies I have come to revere. These creative outlets are more than mere tomes for entertainment’s sake but potentially artful amplifications of life’s hidden truths. Every once in a while, I get wind of an up-and-coming author who has a chance to tell their story and ultimately reveal such a truth – their truth. There is nothing quite as powerful as the ability to grant one passage into your world so that they might discover an idea previously unknown or see a reflection of our own reality to which they are currently blind. Artist-Writer Sumeyye Kesgin appears to be erecting the framing for a genuinely fun science-fiction adventure with her debut issue of Voyagis. However, even early on in this five-issue miniseries, we are able to hone in on a story more impactful than what meets the eye. 

Voyagis #1 by Sumeyye Kesgin | Image Comics
Voyagis #1 by Sumeyye Kesgin | Image Comics

Kesgin’s story begins on the distant world of Modia, a desolate planet we are introduced to at what appears to be the tail-end of its stable existence. The humanoid protagonists of Sen, Zakk, and adorably fuzzy yet frighteningly vicious Gorn (also known as “The Dude”), are in a desperate grapple for resources with Modia’s apparent overlord, Primoris the Tyrant. Little is known of this shrouded antagonist, save for Plabot, the Tyrant’s right-hand cybernetic servant, and a malicious motivation to harvest Modia’s natural resources. 

Modia is arid and seemingly near-void of carbon-based life in relation to the horde of bio-mechanical minions working under the Tyrant’s orders. Without revealing too much of the action that transpires, readers are instantly thrown into the heat of battle along with Sen, Zakk, and Gorn. The real fun starts just as the issue draws nearer to its conclusion, with our protagonists coming across “an old satellite” in Modia’s orbit, unaware that they have just crossed paths with the Voyager I probe. In our reality, the probe is an actual satellite that has traveled nearly 15 billion miles across the universe since its launch in 1977. Aside from being a probing tool, the Voyager I carries onboard a golden record of images, sounds, and spoken words in an array of languages and symbol-coded instructions on how to access this information. It is a message in a bottle floating across the cosmic seas of interstellar space, waiting to be scooped up and accessed by any possible intelligent life form unbeknownst to us.

Voyagis #1 by Sumeyye Kesgin | Image Comics
Voyagis #1 by Sumeyye Kesgin | Image Comics

Although yet to be determined how soon this Chekov’s Gun à la Voyager will be fired, some of the most compelling science-fiction—even alternate timeline historical fiction—brilliantly shows us what could have been simply by asking, “What if?” Personally, I find this device and the inclusion of this deep space artifact to be a neat connection between the comic’s fiction and our reality. In doing so, Kesgin is intelligently teetering closer to the “science” half of science-fiction, which always excites me. It grounds the story in a way that distracts from the foreign, goofy concepts of fuzzy tentacle monsters, horned humanoids, and water thieves. Voyagis also gives off a mysterious vibe, a true sense of mystery, whereas many entries into the genre tend to lean on action scenes, adventure themes or horror and suspense. Kesgin’s story does have plenty of action too; of that, I have no concern. What I do find concerning is how she will balance between the “pew-pew” and plot and character development within such a short series. 

One particular aspect of Voyagis that I found both perplexing and fascinating was the familiarity of it all. There is something faintly derivative about the story and its skin—the setting, weapons, vehicles—however, this is not necessarily a drawback. Despite this, all of it is equally unique and stands on its own merit. Upon further reflection, I do wish the debut issue gave readers a little more to work with. It is undoubtedly correct for me to have questions, but at the risk of coming off as spoiled, I find myself asking questions that already should be answered. Fortunately, I am patient enough of a reader that I will be diving headfirst into the second issue in December. I look forward to the story that Kesgin is about to unravel for us and the hidden truth that she wants us to know.

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