This spring saw the second issue of the Boston Comics Roundtable group's Outbound: The Science Fiction Comics Anthology. The first issue came out in the fall of 2009 and it's pretty nice that the Boston group was able to get the second edition out the door in about six months.
Especially because this anthology includes a lot of returning stories from issue #1 along with a few new ones. Returning with second chapters of ongoing comics are: Space and Time by Josh Mills, Michael Paoloni, and David Marshall; The Caerulean Dream by Roho and Kevin Zimmerman; The Null Device by David Marshall; Flek by Erik Heumiller; Scientists Gone Wild by Eric Boeker; and Black Fuska by Roho and Dave Myers. There are also several new titles in issue #2 including work from Dan Mazur, Jesse Lonergan, David Alluisi and Brian Boyles, Kevin Kilgore, Joel Gill and Morgan Pielli. There's a lot in here!
Almost all of it is firmly science fiction with a few exceptions. The returning action-in-space thriller Space and Time leads off issue #2 with action, a little plot development (her father is out there!) and a cliff-hanger. Mill, Paoloni and Marshall use their 8 pages well. Marshall also does pretty well with his other contribution, The Null Device, which is heavy on the action. Another returning comic is The Caerulean Dream which is moving really slow. It has a Heavy Metal kind of feel to the art. I wish there was more going on, but Roho and Zimmerman seem content with a lot of wordless scenery that feels like it's supposed to be symbolic but I'm not sure what of.
Next let's turn to the new stories. The second comic in the issue, The New Kid, by Dan Mazur, might have been my favorite of the issue. Another "to be continued" ending, but a nice twist on the "new kid in town" trope by putting it into an intergalactic setting. I also really liked Frequency: Breaking the Law of Gravity by Alluisi and Boyles. Just a simple premise with a last panel leaving you wondering what's next. Another comic that's new to the book, is Morgan Pielli's Driftwood although I've seen the same pages on the web before — it's interesting, but its fantastical horror story seems a bit out of place in this anthology.
Overall it's a pretty good lineup with only a few disappointments and several really enjoyable installments of new and continuing series. I hope they can keep up the production, keep improving the mix in the book and good luck on topping the cover for issues #3. The cover to issue #2 is a classic of old skool pulpy SF goodness. It's a well done book and I really appreciate that they aim for and mostly hit a kind of science fiction that evokes classic adventure tales without being nostalgic or campy.
The Boston Comics Roundtable group provided ComixTalk with a free copy of this book for review purposes.