MINI-SERIES REVIEWS...
1st issue coverSix from Sirius II

(1985-1986 - 4 issues, published by Epic Comics (a Marvel Comics imprint)

Script: Doug Moench. Art: Paul Gulacy.

Suggested for Mature Readers

(I've read n' reviewed the original mini-series since posting this review, and that review can be found here.)

Six from Sirius was a science fiction mini-series about six agents for an intergalactic government done by Moench and Gulacy in 1984. This is a sequel. I haven't read the first series, but this one begins with our heroes apparently wanted by their government after events in the first mini-series. They are captured and, temporarily, brought to a planet where an archaeological excavation is under way to determine how it was the planet's original inhabitants vanished millennia ago. The ruling theory is that they had invented some sort of inter-dimensional gate. Things get complicated when a ruthless mercenary, Valis and his team, hired to provide security for the excavators, instead attack the planet, seeking to control the gate technology for themselves. Things are complicated further by what our heroes discover on the other side of the gateway.

I intentionally didn't read the re-cap of the first mini-series provided in the first issue, just in case I wanted to try and track it down someday. As such, there were a few confusing things, but not by much. This can be enjoyed reasonably well on its own.

2nd issue coverMoench crafts an entertaining science fiction adventure, with enough plot threads, characters, and parallel actions that it can seem reasonably complex. Admittedly, for a story where there's a lot of emphasis put on character (hero Jakosa Lone has a bitter history with the villainous Valis, and some characters switch their allegiances), the characters don't emerge as much more than figures to move the story along.

Paul Gulacy's art is, at times, breathtaking. I first saw his work years ago, in black and white, in an issue of Epic Illustrated, and was duly impressed by his artfully modeled figures that took on an almost photo-realistic three dimension -- and this story, in full colour, is even better. It could give Alex Ross a run for his money for evoking an almost photographic 3-D effect (even to the point of wondering whether Gulacy, occasionally, employs photo-references for his characters -- most aren't that real looking, but there's a supporting character who reminded me of actor Edward G. Robinson). If you've only seen Gulacy's art in more conventionally coloured comics (ie: some Batman TPB collections he's done with Moench), or are just familiar with his recent style which is more cartoony, you haven't seen Gulacy at his best.

Intended for mature readers, there's some nudity -- though only in the first two issues (the second issue has one of the heroines running around nude for a few pages...and it's actually, sort of, justified in the story) -- but violence and subject matter aren't especially explicit.

The series also featured back up SF stories. The first issue just seems to contain weird filler art. The second an illustrated text story. The third and fourth a two-part tale that might have some interesting ideas...if I could just figure out what they were. Well...you'd buy this for the lead story anyway.

Six from Sirius II doesn't necessarily hold up to great scrutiny, with a few decidedly illogical turns that don't seem to pay much attention to its own plot. Which, combined with the workmanlike characterization, keeps an entertaining page turner from being a great read. But, all in all, with beautiful, gorgeously coloured art, and a few twists and turns to the story, Six from Sirius II is an enjoyable space opera.

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