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Void Rivals #2 review

What’s this then?

Why, it’s Void Rivals # 2, the second issue (shocking, I know) of Robert Kirkman, Lorenzo De Felici, and Matheus Lopes’ new sci-fi comic. It tells the tale of two crumbling planets linked by a “Sacred Ring” (it’s not Halo), their peoples at war for generations. When a member of each culture are stranded together, the two find they must put aside their differences if they want to survive.

This story takes place in the so-called “Energon Universe”, Skybound Entertainment’s new initiative to relaunch properties like Transformers and G.I. Joe within a shared universe that also happens to include the original characters and setting of Void Rivals.

Any good?

You know what, yeah! I’m enjoying it so far and I guess I’m not surprised. Robert Kirkman does well with cosmic space stuff and I was a big fan of Invincible. In two issues he’s already crafted an intriguing dramatic setup and a compelling dynamic between our two lead characters Darak and Solila. We’ve seen the “enemies stranded and forced to work together” trope many times in science fiction (Star Trek makes a regular habit of it) and there’s a reason it works. Kirkman is known for subversion of expectation, so I’m sure it won’t be smooth going as the series progresses.

The art by Lorenzo De Felici and Matheus Lopes suits the script quite well, although I’m sure it’ll be an acquired taste for some. De Felici’s character and technical designs work effortlessly with Kirkman’s world-building and Lopes’ colors add a stark contrast between our colorful protagonists and the desolation of space. The art certainly nails the cliffhanger splash page, introducing an unexpected new character into the mix that Transformers fans might recognize… (then again, they may not, it’s a bit of a deep cut!)

All in all, Void Rivals # 2 is a satisfying read.

Are you sure?

Well, Kirkman does sometimes fall into that “modern, decompressed” feel with his comics, preferring to let the art tell the story, which makes for a quicker read on the whole. This issue felt fairly dense though, word-wise, as more world-building is accomplished and Darak and Solila continue to feel each other out and fall into a rhythm as reluctant companions.

But wait, I was promised Transformers and G.I. Joe. Where they at?

The presence of one of these properties was felt in the first issue and felt again in this issue, although the main plot of Void Rivals remains its primary focus. As I said above, the cliffhanger introduces a character familiar to longtime Transformers fans, although I make no promises that they are anyone’s “favorite.” Maybe there’s someone out there who is the __________’s biggest fan though, who knows??

How full’s the Energon cube on this one then?

Void Rivals # 2 continues strong setup and characterization from issue # 1. While I was primarily interested in this series for its link to Transformers, I was drawn in by the creative efforts of Kirkman and team and eagerly await to see what the next issue will bring for Darak and Solila. If you are only interested because of the Transformers (or G.I. Joe) link, you may be disappointed, but if you can simply take this comic for what it is, you’ll have an easier time of it. This is the ground floor on something that has the potential to be as popular as Walking Dead or Invincible one day, considering the pedigree of the creator. Don’t you wanna be able to say “I liked Void Rivals BEFORE it was a movie/TV show/video game”? I know I’m that petty, and it helps that this is a pretty strong effort so far.

The cube’s at about here for this issue:

Don’t be a jerk like Darak’s dad, go grab yourself a copy of Void Rivals # 2 this week.

-Mike Previte

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