Orbital Vol 6: Resistance

By Pellé & Runberg
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781849182621

Caleb and Mezoke are on the run, hiding out amongst a community of exiles, while back in Confederate space Acherod forces continue their occupation of Earth. Mezoke has been hopeful that Caleb’s psychic fits are a thing of the past until a fresh one hits resulting in cardiac arrest. Coinciding with the arrival of Acherod troops the circumstances are looking bleak, until unexpected rescuers arrive and whisk them away just as Caleb appears to manifest some odd abilities. Are these abilities linked to Angus, the living ship, or is something much darker going on? As answers are revealed, stretching back to Caleb’s childhood, Earth begins to rise up.

As the concluding part of this story arc I’m treading carefully to not give too much away, but suffice to say that things are looking very desperate, not just for Caleb but for all of Earth as humanity is threatened with exile from the Confederation. Runberg’s script doesn’t shy away from some mature themes, touching on politics, dependency, betrayal and loss of parents, giving us a deeper motivation for the characters’ actions.

There are a whole host of fictional futures where humanity lives side-by-side with galactic neighbours, so it’s no mean feat to pull off a different take on it – especially one that doesn’t feel like another variation of Star Trek tropes. Part of its success is down to Pellé’s extraordinary artwork, giving the visuals a personality of their own and often using a bleak and limited colour palette to add mood and tone to the tale. It’s a series that often feels more grounded in reality, more likely even, than other similar tales of possible futures, perhaps because it embraces a more cynical aspect, but it’s through challenging this that the characters flourish. Oh, and it’s got some cracking alien designs in it too. Always a bonus.

And if you liked that: Then you’re going to love Valerian and Laureline…

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