Titan by Francois Vigneault (graphic novel review).

May 18, 2021 | By | Reply More

Titan’ is a graphic novel that’s written and crudely drawn by Francois Vigneault. Crudely but with gusto, good storytelling and a sort of raw power reminiscent of the last works of Jack Kirby when his eyesight was failing. The script is better.

The year is 2192 and Manager or MNGER João Da Silva arrives at Homestead station on Titan, where they produce 795,000 metres cubed of hydrocarbons every E-day or Earth day. It’s not enough, especially as Earth has discovered the secret of fusion power, which will be much cheaper. João’s job is to increase productivity at the station. But Titan has a militant union movement and the Titans have a deep sense of grievance that Earth has been living off their sweated labour for centuries. Getting their cooperation won’t be easy.

Titans are not only angry, they’re big. Their ancestors were genetically modified to work in low gravity conditions, so they are twice the size of Manager Da Silva and intimidating in manner, too. A Terran security force backs him up but he aims to make the station work, not start a war. He’s also equipped with a sort of cybernetic interface behind his right eye so he can access computers, scan data, even activate or override control systems with just a thought. It all comes in handy when his proposal to increase productivity by micro-monitoring the workers gets a hostile reception.

João has one friend, Assistant Union boss Phoebe Mackintosh who takes a shine to him and wants to help. She used to be a professional wrestler or ‘mixer’ and is useful in a fight. They share a taste for 20th century Earth music which helps with the chapter titles including ‘Far Far Away’, ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and ‘Oh, You Pretty Things’. Could this be love? It’s sex, certainly, with graphic illustrations of the act. Oh, la la! This book is also available in French.

The sex is only a couple of pages, though. The rest are devoted to a decent story with several surprises and neat plot twists as Homestead station sinks deeper into crisis. It reminded me of Heinlein’s novel ‘The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress’, which I think has a cameo appearance in one panel but I couldn’t find it when I checked. As a loyal American patriot, colonies rebelling against the mother country was one of RAH’s favourite themes. The American Revolution was really about rich people not paying taxes but he was okay with that, too.

As for ‘Titan’, it’s terrific. I enjoyed it. The drawings could have been prettier but styles vary now and the crudest cartooning is acceptable so writers can do their own art. Storywise, I’m a sucker for space opera with a political theme and a pair of star-crossed lovers doesn’t go amiss. The theme of new technology making workers unemployed is relevant to our time and will become more so with the third industrial revolution. I doubt, however, that there will be any militant trade unions to resist it if there are any at all. Recently, I asked a hard-working young man, currently doing twelve-hour shifts to catch up after lockdown, if he was in a union. ‘What’s a union?’ he said.

Eamonn Murphy

May 2021

(pub: Oni Press, 2020. 208 page graphic novel. Price: £17.99 (UK), $19.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-62010-779-9)

check out website: https://onipress.com/

Tags: ,

Category: Comics, Scifi

Warning: Use of undefined constant php - assumed 'php' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/40/d502808907/htdocs/clickandbuilds/sfcrowsnest/wp-content/themes/wp-davinciV4.6/single.php on line 65

Leave a Reply