I had the opportunity recently to check out Paul Axel’s latest offering of Illegal Alien, you may also remember him from Rotten Roots or even Alterna’s IF Anthology or Bad Kids Press’ Fractured Continuum. Now Illegal Alien isn’t about some folks from across the border trying to get across it in an illegal manner, or aliens that aren’t legally allowed to be on Earth. No, its about a young man by the name of Juan Bruni of Venezuela who wants to go to Mars and perhaps find his destiny. Or at the least, find himself being challenged in ways he’s never been before considering the virtual paradise he’s always lived in. And its great that he wants to do this and its great to see this being done with a character that isn’t white. Which… if the character was white, there probably wouldn’t be much point to the story over all.
I love that the dialogue through out the issue isn’t always English. As the language of the area is seen through out the book, helping give the book even more of its identity in my view. Which makes me glad Paul did that instead of just automatically going with full on English. Now I can’t say Megan Fitts’ art here wows me exactly but I will say I do like it and hope to see more in the future. That she presents Juan and his father arguing over his desire to go to Mars so well is pretty nice as well.
For this reader, its easy to see that Juan’s father is just really concerned about his boy where his dream of going to Mars is concerned. Sure, he might not be going about it the right away at first by downtalking the whole thing but he does, more or less, gradually changes his tune up to be a bit more supportive. The man’s probably been through some crap himself and it wouldn’t surprise if me if he had due to not being a white man or in a really well respected field of some kind. So he wants his boy to be safe while Juan doesn’t want that. The fact Juan actively pursues this is nice to see and you start to really root for him when you see all the praising he’s getting by his testers. Making for a rather disappointing conclusion later on as we near the end of this issue/preview as they practically bitch slapped him and at the same time, shot themselves in the foot by refusing to bring him on when they know he’ll probably be the absolute best he can be while on Mars.
And its because of this, that I can’t wait to see what Juan will do next in order to overcome this unfortunate obstacle to realize his dream and do more with his life. Even if it causes all sorts of problems in the end as everyone deserves a chance and not just a select few. Whatever happens next, I am all aboard for on the flight to Mars!
Editor’s Note: Head to the Paul Axel website to see how you can grab yourself a copy!
Illegal Alien #1
Written by: Paul Axel
Art and Colors by: Megan Fitts
Reviewer: Rob Wrecks
Summary: llegal Alien takes place in the 23rd century. Life on Earth is comfortable, as humanity took the hard lessons it learned during the era of climate change and made the world better. Despite this ease, Juan Bruni, a young Venezuelan, has a dream. Tired of a life where everything is within easy reach, Juan desires to test himself on the furthest and toughest human frontier: Mars. Towards the end of the last century, the global governments began a space colonization program, first on the Moon, and by the middle of the 23rd century, Mars. Juan’s parents, of course, think this is a ridiculous idea – the governments are very strict on who they let emigrate, and they can’t see why someone would take such a huge risk when everything they could ever want or need can be found on Earth.
Despite what his parents think, Juan goes to the local office of the Mars program and undergoes a battery of tests, all of which he performs well in. Or so he thinks. After a few days and a reconciling with his family, Juan receives a letter from the program: he has been rejected, with no reason given. Does Juan’s dream die before it can get off the ground? We’ll see.