Shaper #1 (Dark Horse)


CREDIT: Dark Horse Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – Originally a Screenplay, Now a Comic.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

It’s no secret that comic books have become a heavy source of influence for the motion picture industry, not only for superheroes, but across a wide range of genres. This year alone we’ve seen or will see the Avengers, Ant-Man and Kingsman just to name a few. With that being said, many creators have brought their ideas to the comic book page in the hopes of turning it into something bigger than comics, like Mark Millar’s MillarWorld line of books including the recently released Chrononauts that has already been optioned by Universal. Shaper, created by Eric Heisserer was originally intended to be seen as a movie since the original ideas were written into a screenplay for Heisserer’s own cinematic space opera, but has now ended up being told on the page in this first issue from Dark Horse Comics.

Shaper falls squarely into the science fiction genre with futuristic landscapes and technology, space ships, and as hinted by the title, shape shifters. Heisserer in the afterword talks about his love of the genre and being influenced by sci-fi writers like Dan Simmons, Stephen Baxter and more. It provides an interesting take on Hollywood as Heisserer talks about the Catch-22 of Hollywood wanting original ideas, but at the same time not wanting to take gambles on unproven properties. Shaper although utilizing concepts we’ve seen before, presents them in a fresh way with a story that got my attention and held me to the end.

This is the story of Spry, a teenage boy that’s about to graduate school and enter the “real” world. Things don’t go exactly as planned and he finds himself thrown into a galactic sized problem with a war between the Caliphate army pictured on the cover, and the hunted race of shapeshifters.

The art by Felipe Massafera works well for the story, but at times because of the heavy lines and strong uses of blacks can get a little muddy and hide the action. Massafera’s imaginative art does sell the futuristic world happening around the characters, though. There’s different types of aliens introduced throughout, and the ships and transportation methods look and feel futuristic. I thought the cover along with the logo gave this book a slightly ‘manga type’ feel, but the interior pencils and style are far from it.

Shaper creates a new world that looks and reads like a cinematic space opera. Although the art didn’t always live up to my high expectations, it did enough to draw me in and serve the story. I’ve seen a lot of space opera books in the world of comics, so it remains to be seen if this one can stand out amongst the competition. So far I’ll be back for another issue and hope that the story goes in a direction that’s surprising and new.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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