by Brandy Dykhuizen. The first few pages of Satellite Falling have you wondering if this is going to be another story about a pretty mope with RBF and a lot to prove; a lone bounty hunter who keeps everyone at arm’s length while trudging about her daily life. But no, Lilly proves to be an empathetic and fascinating character with enough self-awareness to know when to pull her head out of grief’s cloud and back in the game. She’s the type of girl who learns quickly from her mistakes, who even heeds the advice of the prey she stalks when they point out that her depressed silence could be misinterpreted as typical human bigotry.
Lilly is a silent badass, alone on a satellite after she abandoned a corrupt Earth to process her lover’s death in her own way. While some women would turn to self-reflection and support groups to help them through their darker hours, Lilly turn into other creatures (or, more accurately, she uses holograms to seem like she’s turning into other creatures) to fight the good fight and bring the bad guys to justice. And, more tellingly, it’s a way to avoid having to face herself.
Stephen Thompson’s fluid artwork keeps the story moving. At times he employs a hypnagogic gait that does well to reflect the surreal point of view of someone slogging through bereavement. In other panels it’s all action, with stunning transitions between Lilly’s holographic images and her plain self, and the Chief’s gender shifts. Glints of fear, sadness and anger are perfectly captured on Lilly’s face, without even needing to consult the character’s body language. It’s all there, hidden in plain view behind her eyes.
Satellite Falling is a sci-fi beauty, with an understated but poignant emotional thread stringing it together. And hey, any comic in which the protagonist throws out a self-deprecating remark about “ersatz self-therapy” get my attention. And respect.
IDW Publishing / $3.99
Written by Steve Horton
Art by Stephen Thompson
Colors by Lisa Jackson
Letters by Neil Uyetake
8.5 out of 10