Buck Rogers Volume 1: Future Shock, by Scott Beatty ISBN 9781606901069
Four out of five stars
This reboot of the classic future space hero that originally appeared in 1928 has a lot of potential. While it is the first volume of a new series, it approaches the introduction of the characters in a manner that is different and confusing. Fans of Buck Rogers will know the background story of how a man from the twentieth century ended up in the twenty-fifth century, but modern readers will likely not know the story. This graphic novel jumps temporally from Rogers making his fateful flight in the twentieth century to when he arrives in the twenty-fifth. It leads to a confusing sequence of mini-stories.
The first five pages cover Buck’s crash landing in the twenty-fifth century then the plotline bounces to Buck on a test flight in the twentieth century. After eight pages of this, the story picks up back in the twenty-fifth century where Buck is being pulled from his crashed ship. It would have made more sense to put all of the origin material first so the reader has a solid understanding of the background.
The villains that Buck and his newfound allies battle are powerful, dangerous, in possession of fantastic science and ruthless. Many of their operatives are sentient animals and genetically modified human beasts with great muscular power. Humans are hunted for food and are in danger of being completely subjugated as the equivalent of cattle. All of this makes them great as the adversaries for a futuristic space hero.
Buck is also depicted as a wisecracking individual that has difficulty following orders and protocol, adding an additional level of entertainment. Putting aside the temporal difficulties, this is a great story.