1985: Black Hole Repo #1 (Heavy Metal)
The “Space Race” completely changed the world, but what if it changed things for the worse? That’s the premise behind 1985: Black Hole Repo, a new series from Seth Sherwood, Michael Moreci, and artist John Bivens. A mix between Mad Max and Star Wars, 1985 presents a world that fully embraced space travel in an alternate 1985, but at the cost of our relationships with the world around us.
Max and his crew of scavengers scour the galaxy for anything and everything that can make them a quick buck. Along the way, they have to keep track of the numerous pirates and other scavengers that they’ve screwed over, while also trying to make sure that they don’t kill themselves too. Of course, with this being 1985, there’s also a little bit of a conflict going on between the USA and the USSR, and Max and his crew’s latest find has put them right smack in the middle of the war between the two countries and puts them on the radar of every lowlife in the galaxy.
Straight up, 1985 has a pretty damn awesome hook. You may think that because this book takes place in space that everything looks all futuristic and cool, but the reality is that this is still 1985, and the ships Max and others use, while impressive, are barely held together. Duct tape, scrap metal, and everything and anything else that can be used to patch up space ships is used, and it adds a wonderful “lived in” feeling to 1985. Michael Moreci and Seth Sherwood’s world building is really great here, offering just enough of the back story without resorting to an info dump, and the two wisely give us insight into Max and his crewmembers as a way of expressing the world around them. Speaking of the crew, every member of this team is great and fully fleshed out. Their dialogue is realistic and makes them sound like they’ve all known each other for quite some time. Really the only negative is a few references to our current commander in chief, which, while funny, take you a little out of the story.
John Bivens’ artwork has a looser and more unpolished look than I usually like, but it’s used to great effect here. The world of 1985 is a gross and dirty one, and Bivens’ artwork is able to nail that aesthetic perfectly. While his figure work varies a lot from page to page, it’s hard to imagine another type of art style for this series. It’s ugly, but it also works really well.
1985: Black Hole Repo has an awesome hook that I’m surprised no one has done before. Combining the “working stiff” trope to science fiction works wonders for this debut issue, and I’m very curious to see where the rest of this series goes. If you’re a fan of Blade Runner, Alien, or the darker parts of Guardians of the Galaxy¸ then you should absolutely check this out.