Onyx #1 (IDW)



Rating: 3/5 – Onyx the Spaceknight.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Onyx is the first issue in a brand new series from IDW by Chris Ryall and Gabriel Rodriguez. After reading Locke and Key, if Gabriel Rodriguez’s name is in the creator credits then I’ll be there. His thick line has such a weight that all the details stand apart, which in turn makes his art truly stand out. As familiar as I am with Rodriguez’s work, I’m as unfamiliar with Ryall’s. He’s the co-creator of Zombies vs. Robots with Ashley Wood, and worked on Groom Lake, The Hollows and others. As much as I loved the art and the concepts introduced in this first issue of a brand new sci-fi series, I felt as though the writing and dialogue suffered throughout.

Chris Ryall loves Marvel’s Rom the Spaceknight series. It’s clear not only from his letter to the readers at the back of this issue, but by the way that Onyx is introduced. After a meteor-like bogie crashes into the earth, Onyx appears from the smokey wreckage. It’s through his internal monologue that we come to understand that he’s on a mission to save Earth before a “galactic doom-spore” infects and kills all plants, populaces and fauna on the earth. Meanwhile, a global defense team is dispatched to investigate and we’re introduced to a cast of soldiers, each with their own strengths including a psi-operative who forms a deeper connection with Onyx. It reads very similar to Rom, so much so that it almost feels like a modern version of the classic toy/comic character, and not something new that pays the property homage.

Unfortunately Onyx doesn’t do enough different to stand alone and be something different than what’s come before. In Rom, we had the aliens hiding inside of host bodies. We get that here (spore). In Rom we had a military investigate the Spaceknight while a select few made a deeper connection and wanted to protect him. We get that here. Rom also had some dialogue that was a product of it’s time, and regrettably we also get that here too. Ryall’s dialogue feels forced at times and the military team feels like any military team we’ve read numerous times before.

I’m a big fan of Rom the Spaceknight, although I’m sure not as big a fan as Ryall. You can see his love for the character throughout this first issue, but that passion didn’t necessarily equate to great writing. Although the Rodriguez art is great as usual and he gets to let loose a bit with Onyx’s costume and creatures that have been infected and twisted by the Spore, it’s not enough to bring me back for a second issue. My love for Rom may bring me back at a later time to see how this series has progressed, but for now I’ll go back to reading my back issues of Rom.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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