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They Fell from the Sky is a sci-fi series that has a nostalgic E.T./ Lilo and Stitch feel to it. The creative team consists of Mad Cave Studios’ Talent Search winners; Liezl Buenaventura and Xavier Tarrega doing the script and art respectively. Colours by DJ Chavis and lettering by Joamette Gil.
Tommy Murphy is just an ordinary kid. He goes to school, hangs out with his friends, and fanboys over his favorite T.V. show. But when a chance encounter in the woods thrusts him into an unlikely friendship with an otherworldly creature, he is forced to navigate bullies, family squabbles, and tween woes… all while trying to prevent an interplanetary war.
They Fell from the Sky #1 Story
First issues are always tricky. Creators have to establish the world, the characters, and, providing an entertaining inciting incident. In the first issue of They Fell from the Sky the creative team have for the most part efficiently laid out the everyday problems that Tommy faces. A nerd with a complex and at points strained relationship with both his parents and sister. Tommy is bullied both because of his interest in sci-fi and his race. When we meet Tommy he is debating the existing of exteristrial life when he sees a UFO crash.
A lot of the first issue is told in a flashback recounting the events that lead to what happens in the opening pages. As a storytelling device it works adequately to keep the reader guessing and building up tension. The story moves along at good pace and the dialogue for the most part is well written. Tommy and his gang for the most part are likeable if somewhat stereotypical nerds and jocks are jerks. It’s all a bit cliche.
As such I found Tommy to be a bit bland and as a protagonist he didn’t hold my attention. For me the most interesting character in the issue is his sister Katherine and I am eager to find out where her story is going. As for the aliens there is not much to sat and we haven’t met them outside of the closing cliffhanger.
As first issues goes They Fell from the Sky is fine. It’s a jolly enough read and I suspect the story will pick up pace in the 2nd issue.
They Fell from the Sky #1 Art
Tarrega is clearly a capable artist. Their style matches up well with the tone of the story. They do some excellent work with the panel layout. The story flowed well and was always easy to follow. However, the human character designs were unimaginative and bland. For example, the choice to have most of the bullies wear letterman jackets I think was supposed to be paying homage to ’80s coming of age movies but came off as cliched. Terraga does their best work when characters are energetically jawing at each other. I especially enjoyed the exchange between Tommy and his dad at the end of the book.
Chavis admirably handles the colours in the book, giving depth and atmosphere to the images. For the most part, Gil does a smart job with the lettering handling both moments of bombast and quietness very well. However, there were a couple of panels where they struggled to fit the amount of text on the page in a way that made sense. Overall the art team did a good job.
They Fell From The Sky #1 Conclusion?
Kids sci-fi-fi adventures like E.T. and Flight of the Navigator were the clear inspiration for They Fell from the Sky. Too often though homage fell into cliche. A younger audience might not pick up on the references which is fine since that’s the target audience but as cynical 40-something it grated on me a bit. It does a lot of things neatly and efficiently in terms of storytelling and world-building. As an opening, it is decent enough.
If They Fell From The Sky were a TV show you’d leave it on but wouldn’t go out of your way to watch. It never really soared as I hoped it would. It is an interesting premise and hopefully given the talents of the creative team it will improve over time.
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