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Satellite Sam #1 - The Big Fade Out Review

5

Sexy. Criminal. Retro. Television. If any of these words sound good to you, you're probably going to want to get your filthy hands on this book.

The Good

I'm not sure what brought Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin together for a creator-owned title, but I'm certainly happy about it. Fraction's dialogue is quippy -- almost Sorkin-esque -- and perfectly period, and it meshes with Chaykin's bold, expressive, retro art like a well-stirred martini. The murder mystery is icing on the cake; I'd probably read this book even if it were just a saucy dialogue-centered drama on the set of the show.

SATELLITE SAM is sexy, in a way that makes you feel almost a little bit dirty for reading it. Part of this is Chaykin's natural talent for drawing pin-ups, part of it is the surprisingly lush detail packed into black-and-white panels, part of it is the harkening to a more polite era, and then there's a little bit that just comes from the tone set by a series opening with a murder. It's sexy in its pacing, too -- we know from the cover that we're going to find a body by the end of the issue, but the reveal is drawn out, even as everything else happens rapidly.

The Bad

The "Fraction Caveat" (it's my new academic theory, just roll with it) is that you have to have faith in the story and know that there are layers beyond the hip, sometimes writerly dialogue. Things that seem nebulous or arbitrary right now will make sense in the much grander picture, but if you don't keep up, you'll probably be frustrated (see also: "Hickman Corollary"). The black-and-white palette and snappy, fast-paced dialogue -- both things that I'd consider assets, because they really are done well -- can make the character roster confusing and the plot marginally difficult to follow, so I recommend a more deliberate reading with this book.

The Verdict

There's a lot of noir on the stands lately. There's a lot of good noir, even. But even amidst that particular bit of saturation, I'm going to predict that SATELLITE SAM is going to stand out as something special. Something dangerous is brewing, and we've only gotten a snapshot of it -- I'm fairly certain that the murder of Carlyle White is going to be nearly forgettable in comparison to what's next. Like a serialized TV fan, I'm hooked and want to see the next episode of SATELLITE SAM.

16 Comments
Posted by TheShutup

I LOVED this issue! So glad you reviewed this so everyone else can see how great it was.

this is my kinda series, im having trouble now picking between Fatale and this(well..not really Fatale is on a whole nohta' level!) but still this issue was a great start! im predicting this issue sells out by tomorrow
I can NEVER have TOO MUCH Noire
only too much Superhero, hopefully people give titles like Fatale, lazarus, uncanny etc. a chance because we are in great times for diversity in comics. and for that to prolong we need to chip in and support the lesser known diverse titles, especially when they are GREAT!

Posted by longbowhunter

Sorry my pull is already too bloated.

Posted by MissJ

@theshutup: I'm totally digging the noir trend, and I love that each of these books has their own schtick. It's kinda funny that almost a quarter of my pull list can be described as "a gritty, kinda-retro noir put out by Image," but I'm also really ok with that :)

Staff
Edited by MyNameWasDeleted

sooo glad to hear it's black and white- Chaykin shines in monochrome

Posted by chalkshark

It's Chaykin. That's all I need to know to pick this book up.

Edited by iaconpoint

@missj: You've gotta quit coming up with all of this noir/pulp/retro stuff. My poor paycheck can't take it! And yeah, the Fraction Caveat and Hickman Corollary are just so freaking awesome. Setup in issue 1 that doesn't payoff until 30 issues later? Yes please!

Edited by skyjumpermike

Gave it a shot, but I really didn't like it. I guess it's just not my thing. The cover is fantastic though.

Posted by Cavemold

Quippy? Hahah great:)

Posted by weaponx

Nice review Miss J.

Posted by Al_capOWN

Ive checked out 3 comics shops, all 3 sold out!! I want this comic!!

Edited by KryptonSabbath

Ive checked out 3 comics shops, all 3 sold out!! I want this comic!!

From all the positive reviews I've read so far I HAVE to read it so I went directly onto Midtown Comics website and ordered it.

Posted by G-Man
Staff
Edited by ComicAddict2814

@skyjumpermike: I'm with you there. I'm not into this one at all. I gave it a shot because I like Fraction but this was just not for me.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous
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