By Will Holden
Having been a child of the late 80’s and 90’s I have a certain soft spot for adventures perpetrated by kids. And thus, I present to you Sentient. This is the story of a space ship, the USS Montgomery, travelling towards a new home for humankind. Onboard, families are travelling together to begin a new life on a new world when, suddenly, all of the adults are killed. The crew’s children and the ships AI, VALARIE are left to fend for themselves against the dangers of space, starvation and in-fighting, as they attempt to complete their years long journey.
Sentient is written by the ever prolific Jeff Lemire with art duties handled by Gabriel Walta, perhaps best known for his work with Tom King on Marvel’s excellent Vision miniseries. The book is published by TKO, a fairly new studio putting out a real range of intriguing comics in an interesting format. All issues of Sentient, and TKO’s other books, come out at the same time and can be purchased in either a very nice oversized trade paperback or as a collection of single issues contained within a lovely display box. This is very much in opposition of the traditional monthly book followed by a trade, I know I don’t speak for everyone but for me this is a much more consumer friendly and enjoyable version of comic book reading. I love getting a full story or arc in one go.
The characterisation of the children is brilliant, capturing the fear, uncertainty and unfounded bravado of youths who have been pitched against perilous circumstances. The motherly AI, VALARIE has another unique voice, separate from the children but also from humanity. Although VALARIE is not without empathy, it is a programmed response which is put to the test when the children need to be cared for.
The art is incredibly detailed, especially when the focus is on the machinery of the Montgomery. There are several examples of visual storytelling such as two sets of a mother and child getting ready for their day. These family units are draw with mirroring panels showing the same scenario play out in different ways and how the parent-child relationship differs between the two. The script does not need to fill in the exposition during these scenes as the art tells you what you need to know, this leads to the comic being wonderfully paced and a breeze to read.
This is a very strong recommendation for anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi stories, perilous adventure, child protagonists and really superb art.
5 dead parents out of 5.
If you fancy diving into Sentient you can find it from these lovely places: