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NTF Review: Womanthology: Space #2

Caliburn24 here with some of the top women in space and comics.

Womanthology is a comic series that emerged out of the hardcover anthology, Heroic: A Womanthology funded by Kickstarter and also published by IDW. Renae De Liz, artist for IDW’s adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s Last Unicorn, created the project. Heroic was assembled by a wide range of talented women creators; Ann Nocenti, Barbara Kesel, Gail Simone, and many others. The first issue of Womanthology has several stories that were centered around the theme of the Moon.

“Waiting for Mr. Roboto” by Bonnie Burton and Jessica Hickman has an alien waitress, Trixie, encountering a space freighter pilot. Hickman’s cartoony art slips in a moon as part of the diner’s logo with the name, “Yub Grub” which must poke fun at Ewoks. The next story, “Dead Again” is by Sandy King Carpenter and Tanja Wooten. This has some detailed painted art by Wooten with a crumbling ship orbiting a moon. The scavenger is about to haul parts from the ship when he’s confronted by the ghost of a woman crewmember. “Scaling Heaven” is by Alison Ross and Stephanie Hans with Hans also on art duty. In 2040, China and the U.S. are in a race to get a woman astronaut on the moon. Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire have created the 50’s themed “The Adventures of Princess Plutonia.” Plutonia is a space heroine who leads a rescue of Earth astronaut Max Dunn on what looks like a moon world.

Womanthology: Space #2 has a painted cover by Hanie Mohd that has a tentacled alien on a bench overlooking a futuristic city and the alternate cover has some female aliens in space suits. The first story, “Yanka” is by Blair Butler (host of G4’s Attack of the Show) and features art by Alicia Fernandez. It takes place in Earth orbit on June 16, 1963. A cosmonaut from the USSR, Valentina Tereshkova, is the first woman in space. She is in orbit in the Vostok-6. The mission is supposed to last a little over two days and Valentina gets sick on the second day, but she soldiers on. The capsule begins its descent and Valentina ejects from the capsule to safely parachute down. She becomes a hero, marries a cosmonaut, but their marriage sends with a panel where their wedding picture is turned face down. They do have daughter and much older she looks at her statue at night. This is a somber and interesting story though it needs to tie more strongly with the theme.

The next story, “The Agency” is written by Joelle Sellner and has cartoony art by Jean Kang. A woman, Chloe, who works at an ad agency sees her boss cutting some paper and he leaves behind a twitching finger. She goes to tell about what happened to a female co-worker, Jessica, who complains about rashes on her arm. Chloe sees another man who leaves behind his teeth in a sandwich. She goes to tell her fellow worker, Riley, about what is happening and they see some water mysteriously delivered to a room. Jessica is at a meeting with the clients and suddenly bursts into a tentacled alien. Their boss is at a lab and he discovers them tuning into an alien. Riley knocks down his boss and Chloe finishes him off so they leave and try to find new jobs.

The last story, “All Cats Are Quantum”, is cleverly written by Elise Heiskell with art by Maarta Laiho. A spacship with an alien with blue skin, a vaguely cat-like head and antennae receives a signal. So a fleet of ships is sent to protect the world that sent the signal. The narrative shifts to an Earth girl who describes the landing of the ships which draws fighter jets to shoot on them, but they absorb the attack and send a broadcast that the aliens are peaceful. They send out a signal that is picked up by cats. The narrator is a young woman working at a cat themed store. The worker’s cat rolls on her back to purr and the alien remarks that it is “The Music of the Spheres!” She goes on to explain that the purring sound is a signal that unites all felines in Quantum Entanglement. This is an actual part of Quantum Physics, c’mon you saw What the Bleep Do We Know? right? The narrator goes on to explain that the characteristics of cats make them ideal for interstellar travel. She is able to join the crew of the Sekmet, a ship that carries the Earth cats across the universe. There is a short essay by Devin Grayson about scripting comics. This is clever in that it sets up the comic book script format, the setting, and the writer who discusses with her cat about what to say in the essay as she types on her computer. The series contains a wide range of fun stories all of which are very readable.