Sending men and women into space is a complex, expensive and surprisingly fragile thing for humans to do. Steven John Fuchs captures this eloquently in Soyuz Blue, the first volume of a short series of graphic novels that imagines what might happen to the International Space Station, its astronauts and the ground crew, if subtle changes to the sun put its safety in jeopardy.
Most of the action in this first book occurs on Earth, as a mission is scrambled to resupply the station with enough fuel to push it out of a degrading orbit. The radiation from the sun is also increasing beyond the station’s existing capability to protect its crew. With the situation worsening rapidly, plans are brought forward and a rescue crew is thrown together from available options, but with increased stress comes a greater chance of error.
The plot is grounded in plausible-sounding science, with Fuchs’s interest in the detail of modern space missions shining through. However, the story doesn’t get lost in all this science, with a tragic human drama running parallel to the geeky space facts, which balances the space stuff and draws the reader in.
While the story is polished the art is less so. The perfect, draughtsman-like backdrops, shaded with perfect gradients, clash with the scratchy, sketchy characters. With less contrast in the art it could have been an even more stunning foundation for the intense near-future sci-fi.
It’s a promising start to the series, though, and worth checking out, particularly if you’re a space nut.