MARASSA #1 / Writer: Greg Anderson-Elysée / Artist: Antonello Cosentino / Letterer: Justin Birch / Colorist: Francesco Montalbano / Publisher: Evoluzione Publishing / December 2018
Greg Anderson Elysée’s Marassa is described on its Kickstarter page for issue #1 as “an adventure that garners the attentions of space hunters, bounty hunters, humanoid snake doctors, cosmic Vodou, and wood babies.” It is a rollicking sci-fi adventure. It’s space opera at its finest, with some unique twists, and the Kickstarter page for issue #2 looks to continue that trend.
A new comic must draw the reader in as early as possible. Marassa accomplishes this with the introduction of the bounty hunter Captain Koulev as he fights to fend off the attack of a rival bounty hunter, Som Tennard. Som Tennard appears to get the best of him.
I love how they let Consentino’s art tell this part of the story rather than throwing in a lot of clichéd back-and-forth dialog.
Fast forward two months later, and we are introduced to a world that is a mix of aliens and humans with varied cultures and languages in the tradition of Star Wars, but that is where the similarities end. We meet the human Sa Fremsere, a self-styled pirate trying to live up to the name of the famous pirate Marassa. He crashes an auction in order to steal back a map that will lead to a treasure known as Kavo’s Bones. Sa claims the treasure belongs to his family. He is successful in this endeavor due to the aid of his admittedly adorable “son” Petit Ex Machina who appears to actually be a child made of wood (Pinnochio?) and is very adept at pulling his “father” out of scrapes.
Time to Recruit
After unsuccessfully trying to recruit his friend Zazie, a snake-like, medical practitioner, he travels to a new planet. You see, while Sa has been playing at being a pirate, his twin sister Mara is a royal. She is married to the four-armed, starry-night skinned Tabias, son of Queen Wendala. Queen Wendala adores Mara. Tabias has a keen dislike for Sa, though Mara and her children love him. Tabias’ mother, much to his chagrin, has an affinity for the charismatic Sa.
Sa attempts to recruit his sister in order to search for Kavo’s Bones. He shows her the stolen map, but she refuses due to her duties as princess, wife, and mother. Disappointed, Sa sets out to space again, knowing that his only crew for his treasure hunt consists of Petit and his girlfriend Shelly, with whom he has a very open relationship. Shelly attempts to help with recruiting.
Sa and Petit are attacked by Sor Tennard because there is a large bounty on his head. Petit is lost in space during the attack. It seems that Sor and Sa have some history.
Fortunately, Petit is saved by the not-so-dead Captain Koulev. Koulev attacks Som’s ship and kills his crew. He rescues Sa, who is eager to recruit him thinking that he can convince Kouley that he is only one that that can lead them to Kavo’s Bones. Koulev is not convinced and blows Sa out into space.
Mara wakes up screaming that her brother is dead. Thus ends Marassa #1. What a ride.
Greg Anderson-Elysée is a gifted writer. His writing flows well. It is compelling. If you are going to write a space opera, this is how you do it. One of the great challenges for any writer is creating distinct characters. I would say mission accomplished. He has created a number of excellent characters.
He builds a world that you want to explore. As stated before, there are elements that makes one think of Star Wars, which is considered iconic space opera, such as the band of bounty hunters or the mix of humans and aliens with space ships and space weapons. What Anderson-Elysée provides with Marassa is his own vision that is separate from anything out today. The comic runs forty-seven pages yet still seems to end too quickly. We need to see more of his work in the future. I don’t think I am remiss in dubbing him a rising star.
Anderson-Elysée’s vision is translated with aplomb by artist Antonello Cosentino. I thoroughly enjoy Cosentino’s approach to visual storytelling. His character designs are excellent. His use of panoramic panels is a great choice. His work fills the panels and immerses you in them. He has a nice grasp composition that draws the eye along with the action. Francesco Montalbano’s colors are a good complement to Cosentino’s work.
VERDICT: 4 out of 5
Reminder: Marassa #2‘s Kickstarter page is live and will run until 2:00 pm EST on August 9, 2019
Martin Reese is a writer and creator of innovative, dynamic sci-fi and fantasy projects for transmedia platforms. He is the author of the blog Martin’s Theory of Relativity where he discusses topics relevant to People of Color in sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics. He is also the author of the story book Mulogo and His Quintuple of Trouble.