Void Trip TPB
Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Plaid Klaus
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Anelise Farris
I have been an ardent fan of Void Trip since I did an advance review of issue #1 way back when. Normally, when I review every issue of a series, I don’t bother doing a review of the trade paperback. But, in this case, I couldn’t help but make an exception. Void Trip is a series with so much depth that I knew revisiting it would reward me with additional or perhaps totally different experiences than my first go-around did.
Void Trip presents readers with a road-trip narrative set in space. As such, you might be expecting epic space battles with aliens and asteroids and danger at every turn. Fortunately, that’s not what we get here. Rather than tread overly-familiar territory, the creative team gives us something entirely new. Ana and Gabe are two free-spirited individuals, making the journey to Euphoria (a planet that is supposedly nothing short of paradise). And, rather than the typical intergalactic war fanfare, we have one bad dude that is attempting to keep them from reaching their destination.
And, to make it even more unique, by the end of issue #2, we are already at Euphoria. Say what? That’s exactly what my initial reaction was. But it’s this brilliant, unexpected twist, that makes Void Trip just so good. We arrive at Euphoria only to discover that it is anything but euphoric. The bleakness is amped up 100%—in the best way possible—as Ana and Gabe undergo some serious self-reflection.
Ana is the character who caught my attention on my first read-through of this series. She has a devil-may-care attitude, a serious Froot addiction, a killer fashion sense, and a wild mix of apathy and empathy. This time around I was struck by Gabe’s addition to the story. He is older than Ana, wiser, and we get the idea that he’s seen a lot in his lifetime. The way Gabe’s story wraps up affected me more this read, particularly when AI comes into play. Gabe and Ana are both such unique characters, and their friendship is one that we would all be so lucky to have. It’s not romantic. But it’s deep. Deep in that 2am-conversations-lying-on-the-roof kind of way.
I haven’t even talked about the art in Void Trip yet. It’s the type of series that makes me want to frame every single page. From the gorgeous blue-pink-purple space scenes, to the bleak, neutral Euphoria, the art invites you into this story’s world(s). I also love the use of wide gutters—trust me, you need the breathing room, in this story—and the varied panel arrangements. The soft, surreal vibe of the aesthetic makes it both otherworldly and incredibly relatable.
Verdict: Buy it.
I read a lot of sci-fi (I’m literally getting a PhD in it), and I can truthfully say that Void Trip is in my top-favorite sci-fi reads. It is both heartening and depressing, and it gets at—in such a skilled way—that fundamental question: why are we here?
Also, check out our interview with the creative team here!