With a solid issue under his belt, John Ostrander moves into the multi-part storyline here with a last hurrah from Lenin Delsol and Mike Gustovish (although at least one of these issues is a “Man E. Hands” inking job) as the the past starts catching up to someone other than Torin.
Like I said, I missed issue #10–although I still intend to go back and collect it–but I do know that they faced off and won against a villain named Black Thom and in the course of that fight, Sam, the robot who was Torin’s companion, was destroyed. We also met Crayne, the owner of the now-destroyed Tao VII, who will join the team for at least a few issues here.
The big conflict for these three issues is Tamara’s family, which is also a “family,” if you know what I mean.
They’re mobsters. She’s a Meadow Soprano whom has turned her back on her family.
Anyway, that mob family’s matriarch, Lavinia D’Orsini, is after The Jolly Roger because Tamara stole the ship from her and their exploits have been so great that they have been getting intergalactic news coverage. Lavinia wants that ship back and she wants Tamara captured so that she essentially be reprogrammed–tortured into remembering her rightful place with the mafia.
They succeed in capturing her by the end of issue #11 while Torin and Crayne are fighting their way through the mobs of Keldomage, a black market planet. In issue #12, that torture and reprogramming happens while our swashbuckler hero fights his way through the city and seemingly escapes to the underground tunnels of the sewer system–well, until someone floods the pipes.
And while she does eventually break that programming and fight back–getting new outfits in the process, which I can appreciate (I mean, I like the “scantily clad adventure woman” thing as much as the next guy, but I also like that the creative team doesn’t feel the need to confine her to just a “costume” similar to super hero costumes). It’s two adventures running parallel to one another, with the Torin/Crayne one being a little lighter than hers, and Tamara left feeling devastated by how she was used and manipulated, but also by how she has to reconcile with her past and her upringing. When they head off for parts unknown again at the end of issue #13, she’s visibly upset, and it’s an emotional beat that we know will head into the next issue.
I will miss this art team–Delsol and Gustovich were a great follow-up to Grell’s artwork in the original miniseries, and all of the action was well-illustrated and dynamic instead of being just stiff-looking shots of ships in space, which is the risk you run with these types of comics. And it’s a very tight three-parter.
I’m still holding off judgment except to say that I continue to look forward to these issues and next up is the first book penciled by Tim Truman, so I know I’ll be in for a treat.