What happens when you cross a stoner road movie with an intergalactic tale that delves into an existential crisis? Void Trip. The visually compelling story from Image Comics is written by Ryan O’Sullivan, with art by Plaid Klaus and lettering from Aditya Bidikar. And to really get the full experience, Void Trip is best read as a trade paperback (out on May 30) – since the wacky story strives to keep the reader on their toes with twists, turns and the occasional cliff-hanger.
Void Trip focuses on Ana and Gabe, the only two humans left in the galaxy. This has left Gabe in a jaded, permanently worried state – whereas Ana sees her endangered status as a state of freedom. This leads her to search for a long-lost planet, Euphoria. It’s a fabled El-Dorado for those who take the hallucination-inducing space ‘Froot’. The two embark on a journey to find Euphoria along with their robotic companion, A.I. whilst being pursued by a brutally efficient faceless soldier. This is ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘ meets ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘ in the best way possible.
The juxtaposition of the two main characters’ attitudes lull the audience into a false sense of who they are, and Void Trip isn’t afraid of twisting the knife later down the line as their quest becomes slightly more volatile than they expected. Although this road-trip adventure boasts drug-induced visuals that are genuinely beautiful, it also has a very human tale underneath all the action and the interstellar politics. What does it mean to be the last of your kind and not much else to live for? Ana almost embodies a poignant line from Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club; “Only after we’ve lost everything are we free to do anything”. And realistically, if you were one of the last humans in existence, that would likely spark up an existential crisis or two.The only negatives come from the realistic nature of what taking a hallucinogenic drug constantly would do to a person. It does get a little tiresome when Ana is left in a drooling pile on the floor after eating too much Froot, or when she’s so high that she hasn’t moved the ship at all. And although they’re annoying character choices, they do make sense given that her life revolves around visiting a higher plane of existence.
We’ve always said that the best science fiction comes when the human story underneath is just as powerful as the out-of-this-world setting in which the tale takes place. Void Trip is a perfect example of this. Searching for a higher meaning in a galaxy that has forgotten them truly benefits Ana and Gabe. Plus, the companions they keep ensure that the backbone of the story is quite light, cutting in with brilliant lines of dialogue and comedic moments that would fit perfectly in a stoner movie. If you’re looking for a wild adventure spanning across the galaxy, but also takes time to develop its characters in genuinely interesting ways, we could not recommend this more.
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