Riding The Radio Waves With Space Pirates In Lightstep #2
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
January Lee is found marooned in space by a self-styled space pirate called the Jazzman. The Jazzman and his crew harvest and sell radio broadcasts from Earth in the depths of space. However, shortly after finding January, the Jazzman’s ship is found by another pirate called Dada Cumana. He intends to capture and kill Jazzman’s crew, but the clever pirate loses Cumana in lightspeed pursuit. Dada Cumana will find Jazzman again soon though, so he and his crew begin teaching January to pilot a Blade Ship.
Lightstep #2 departs the setting of the previous issue for a slightly more traditional sci-fi setting of dueling spaceships and piracy. It spends much of its time attempting to flex its knowledge of physics in the void of space and objects approaching lightspeed.
I’m not generally the kind of person to be a stickler for realism in science fiction, so the time spent explaining radio waves and the relativity of time near lightspeed didn’t do much for me.
Jazzman and Dada Cumana aren’t really grabbing as characters either. Jazzman is stoic, Dada Cumana is an oafish slob of a villain, and January Lee doesn’t develop much of a personality this issue. Jazzman’s crew of mitotically-reproducing aliens are a bit of fun though.
It would be strange to give January such an elaborate and distinct backstory only to abandon the setting completely, so I’m willing to bet we will return to her homeworld in the issues to come. I find myself missing it; her world is strange, horrid, and interesting.
I still love the visual design of Lightstep, and the second issue maintains that aesthetic. Milos Slavkovic’s artwork is grabbing and unique. The space suits, the ships, and the aliens maintain this retro-futuristic Roman Empire motif that stick out in this medium that has an abundance of science fiction. Slavkovic also gives it a gleaming color palette that helps the visuals pop even more.
Lightstep #2 doesn’t grab the reader as tightly as the opening issue, and the characters are a bit lacking on the whole. That said, its adherence to scientific accuracy will likely intrigue many readers, and the aesthetic of its universe remains awesome. I can give it a tentative recommendation. Feel free to pick it up.
Lightstep #2 comes to us from writers Milos Slavkovic and Mirko Topalski, artist Milos Slavkovic, letterer Andrej Bunjac, and cover artist Milos Slavkovic with Dave Stewart.