I'm going to admit upfront that I have no exactly how/where I heard about Outer Orbit. I had written it down as a book I wanted to order at some point, apparently, and it was sitting at the top of the list I printed out to turn over to my Local Comic Shop. But I can't remember anything about how I got to putting it on my list.
There must have been a valid reason, I figured -- I wouldn't have made a note of it otherwise. So two weeks ago, I handed in my request with no recollection of why I was looking for this book, and this week, it arrived. After reading through the book, I'm still not sure where I might've heard about it, but I can clearly see why I wanted it.
The story is about a hapless space pizza delivery guy named Quinn, who accidentally falls in with a sex-starved museum thief (Neoki), who then ditches him and leaves him with a gruff, by-the-book policeman (Krunk) who's been framed for having sex with sheep. Lots of explosions, shootouts, chase scenes, death-defying escapes, cookies, poker, sex, and general mayhem.
No, that doesn't really explain it very well, does it? OK, let me try this another way...
You've seen the Judge Dredd movie, right? Now, picture Dredd as Krunk, and Fergie as Quinn. Except it's funny. No, I mean, intentionally funny. And there's sex. And the plot's a lot different. And the protagonists run around in their underwear more often than not.
That's not exactly making things clearer, either.
How about I just show you page 4? The first three pages were okay, but I think page 4 sums up the theme of the book as well as the protagonists' relationship pretty succinctly...
That page totally had me sold on the book, and I knew then and there that I was in for a good read.
The comedy throughout the book was spot on. They avoided most of the more obvious gags and jokes, and came up with new and interesting twists on older set-ups. Plus, the creative team collectively seemed to have a great sense of comedic timing. Lots of "Stupid, stupid rat creatures" type moments throughout the whole book.
While the comedy made Outer Orbits a fun read, the whole creative team clearly have a lot of storytelling talent at their disposal as well. The main adventure is told as a series of flashbacks from multiple characters' perspectives, and is frequently interrupted by questions from others. The flashbacks are not told in a linear fashion and, indeed, many of the flashbacks have flashbacks within them. It's a little like listening to an old, married couple telling you a story that they've told a million times before, and the entertainment comes more from listening to the two of them try to tell it together than from the actual anecdote itself.
I may have forgotten why I originally wanted to pick this book up, but I am not going to forget why I couldn't put this book down!
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