“Space Riders: Galaxy of Brutality” Issue #1
Black Mask Studio
Created by: Alexis Ziritt & Fabian Rangel Jr.
Writer: Fabian Rangel Jr.
Artist: Alexis Ziritt
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Still screeching through technicolour space in the Santa Muerte (a giant skullship with flames spouting from the eyeballs) Space Rider’s second highly-anticipated arc is still the machismo-laden 80’s nostalgia trip that made the first volume a sold-out hit. Drawn like a black light poster and laden with profanity, Space Riders is an adult dream ticket through the cosmos. If you missed the first 4-issue arc, it’s collected in Space Riders Volume 1: Vengeful Universe, and contains my favorite comic quote of all-time, “I like my coffee like I like my outer space: Black and Infinite.” If you’re ready to see the mysteries of the universe revealed, or just some evil space-bikers get their faces melted off by lasers, this title is for you!
Space Riders is like a shared drug-trip straight from the brains of creators Alexis Ziritt and Fabian Rangel Jr. The artwork and the storytelling are nearly synonymous- scenes featuring vast space storms or limbo wouldn’t work without the fluid and vibrant artwork of Ziritt, and more stoic character panels would be nothing without the aggressive barrage of dialogue by Fabian Rangel Jr. The brutality of the Santa Muerte mixes with the Viking-like style of robot and cyborg characters, all melded with otherworldly Lovecraftian spirituality at the core of the Universe. The result is fantastical time-warp, designed with stained and weathered edges to look like a comic that has seen at least a decade of wear-and-tear despite being on high-quality paper and brand-spakin’-new.
Part of the strength of this comic lies in its unapologetic ability to blast, zap, and suckerpunch its way through each narrative turn. There are no thought bubbles in Space Riders, no exposition boxes, no running commentary. The reader is dropped into a neon elsewhere with resounding expletives, full of alien races and championed by Captian Peligro, his first mate Mono (a human-sized, meditating baboon in space-armour) and Zara (cyborg). Didn’t read Vengeful Universe? No problem- you’re given enough of an intro to get you up to snuff with the character dynamic. As usual, Captain Peligro is grit incarnate no matter the situation, with his signature snarl, beard, eyepatch, and black skull space helmet. Mono is a tell-it-like-it-is right hand to the Captain, and Zara serves as the co-pilot voice of reason to the constant brawl that is their voyage. With this trio at the helm, the Santa Muerte is just as formidable a vessel as it appears to be.
Like a metal band’s album cover breathed to life in a sci-fi techno-fantasy, Space Riders will fulfills every masculine fantasy you have, and some you didn’t know you did. The first issue of Galaxy of Brutality will surprise and delight new readers and will satisfy fans of Vengeful Universe. Alexis Ziritt and Fabian Range Jr.’s collective vision is fully realized in every weathered panel of this psychedelic cosmic trip through a brutal galaxy. If you’re not reading Space Riders, what the f@#$ are you waiting for?! It puts hair on your chest. 9/10
Chris is the owner of The Sidekick comic shop/coffee bar in Toronto. You can find her there under a mountain of books, doing shots of espresso off the bar.When she’s not in the shop, Chris does freelance illustration work and tours the city’s outdoor space with her dog Cooper.
Her favorite fandoms feature giant monsters.