Katie Galaxy by Maggie McFee, reviewed by Alicia Curtis
Katie Galaxy, created by Maggie McFee, is an interstellar adventure full of humor and piles of trash. Literally. The head of a salvage business founded by her deceased father, Katie Galaxy is a no-nonsense, though often satiric, woman working in a man's world, and succeeding. Aided by Diesel, her mechanic, and Dig, her problematic, manic navbot, or navigational robot, Galaxy's mission is to run the best salvage business in the universe, come hell, high water, or... Luthor Corp?
Two key storylines, "It's Only Business" and "Line of Fire", concern Katie Galaxy's relations with rival salvage business Luther Corp, an unscrupulous corporation bent on driving her out of business and quite possibly existence. The first story arc, "Green Eyed Monster", introduces this rivalry, though not in terms of business relations. Interestingly, the strong, stalwart lead of this webcomic deals with an issue shared by many real-life women: jealousy concerning body image. Specifically, Katie Galaxy is jealous of Leggs Luther, daughter of the Luther in Luther Corp.
Using body image as her jumping-off point, Maggie McFee covers Katie's initial designs at modeling to segue into her realization that after all, the salvage industry is her destiny. Thus begins the tale: of how Katie Galaxy convinced her father to let her follow in his footsteps, of how she obtained her navbot Dig (almost more dangerous in his ineptitude than Luther Corp), and of Dig's humble beginnings in her service. Storylines then connect almost seamlessly through McFee's scripting as the origin of Dig is graphed into the aforementioned main plot concerning Luther Corp.
It is safe to say that Katie Galaxy's opponents are both inept and calculating. Calculating referring mostly to the hired thugs Luther employs, who tend also to be rather vicious. Unfortunately, the villains in this tale prove to be fairly stereotypical and are a weak link in the plot overall. This is particularly true when Colonel Faust and her Death's Head Squad enter the picture; what is most readily called to mind is the Bad Girl genre of the Nineties.
McFee's strong point is storytelling. She realizes that well-crafted science fiction succeeds only when the world is complete. It can be disconcerting when unknown vocabulary and ideas are thrust into a story, but McFee treats such things as they should be treated in a fully realized universe: as preexisting conditions which we, the reader, must learn to assimilate.
The dialogue of the strip is another matter. When Katie is conversing with Diesel and Dig, the banter flows lightly and humorously. Other dialogue, particularly that of the villains, seems heavy-handed and fake. However, there is enough obvious talent in McFee's work to hope that dialogue will someday catch up with scripting.
Aesthetically, Katie Galaxy has its high and low points. The black-and-white strips and full-page panels are masterfully done. Vibrant, cartoonish and expertly shaded, these pieces resonate among the other works in the archive. Additionally, the color work on "Green Eyed Monster" works quite well, the hues more washed out and subdued than in the latter work. McFee is a talented draftswoman and clever at juxtaposing panels. However, the brighter, stereotypically "superhero comic" coloring that is used from the beginning of "It's Only Business" does not work well with the tone of the strip. This coloring, like some of the dialogue and characterization, seems overly simplistic and doesn't contain any of the nuances which can be found in other areas of McFee's art.
Though little has of yet been resolved in the Katie Galaxy universe, the heroine is engaging and there is a lot of promise in Maggie McFee's talent. Sci-fi enthusiasts should enjoy this tale, as well as anyone amused by a quick superhero pun such as Leggs Luther or the ever-present hot pants reminder of Los Brothers Hernandez's Hopie.