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PREVIEW: 'Nuclear Family' #1 by Stephanie Phillips, Tony Shasteen, and JD Mettler

 America, 1957. Elvis dominates the airwaves and apple pie is served after every meal. But, with the dark cloud of nuclear holocaust looming, Korean War vet Tim McClean’s major concern is taking care of his family in the atomic age. When the first bomb does drop on an unexpecting Midwest city, Tim and his family find themselves plunged into a strange new world, where what’s left of the United States has gone underground while continuing to wage war on Russia with unthinkable tactics. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Breakfast at Twilight , NUCLEAR FAMILY is written by  Stephanie Phillips ( Butcher of Paris, Heavy Metal , ARTEMIS AND THE ASSASSIN, RED ATLANTIS) and illustrated by Tony Shasteen ( Star Trek ). It’s Cold War-era science fiction at its most timely and terrifying. As Phillips explained when interviewed about the series by The Hollywood Reporter at the end of last year, “[it’s] about a family that seems like the ideal nuclear family in the 1950s. But, when an unexpected

REVIEW: 'Space Bastards' #2 by Joe Aubrey, Eric Peterson, and Darick Robertson

 Acclaimed artist Darick Robertson (The Boys, HAPPY!) joins writers Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey as they unleash the galaxy's most vicious and depraved...parcel couriers?

The secret origin of the IPS! Several years ago, after failing to make a profitable exit from his sex robot company, Roy Sharpton hit upon his next big idea: buy the failing Intergalactic Postal Service! Learn how he combined Uber and Rollerball into a violent and competitive army of contract workers--and the most successful business in history!


Writer: Joe Aubrey, Eric Peterson

Artist: Darick Robertson, Diego Rodriguez

Publisher: Humanoids Publishing

Release Date: February 10, 2021

Cover Price: $4.99

Score: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

There's no way around it, 'Space Bastards' #2 is offensive. Specifically, the man behind the Intergalactic Postal Service, Roy Sharpton, is a piece of crap. He's an irredeemable racist that revels in Native American stereotypes with reckless abandon. He's also a terrible businessman. If 'Space Bastards' wasn't as satirical and funny as it is, issue two would be extremely worrisome. 

What we get from writers Joe Aubrey and Eric Peterson is a highly timely and relevant depiction of an obnoxious white man who, despite bankrupting four previous companies using sheer arrogance and incompetence, has somehow failed upwards by exploiting gig workers and appealing to their basest instincts of greed and violent aggression. It's an indictment of abusive corporate cultures and a system of capitalism that pits employees against each other to further sales while executives at the top reap the rewards. It just so happens to be done with a wink and a gunshot to the head. 

Issue two explains how Sharpton created the company. It's 'Blazing Saddles,' 'The Wolf of Wall Street," and 'Death Race 2000' on cocaine. The series is meant to be over-the-top and everything about it has been so far. It's a cartoonish and violent comedy that could be dismissed as exploitative fodder but given a chance, the underlying themes hide some truths that are hard to ignore. 

Whether the writers intended or not I see some parallels in real life. Corporations have made a fortune during a pandemic. While unemployment numbers and deaths rose, they made money. Workers at Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Amazon have to apply for food stamps to survive. Amazon workers skipped bathroom breaks to keep up efficiency. Ridesharing companies refuse to provide full-time work and full benefits for their drivers. And let's not forget corporations use child labor and sweatshops overseas. So a corporate culture of ruthlessness and abuse already exists, 'Space Bastards' is just extrapolating what horrors we already condone.   

It's a divisive series but what isn't in question is the quality of the art. Darick Robertson is in his element with some wild action and violence. Even Sharpton's shenanigans are well designed, part Cohen Bros. film, part Looney Tunes. Robertson is the conductor of mayhem. 

'Space Bastards' #2 is a politically incorrect firebomb. It's a funny but cringe-inducing satire that lays bare the evils of corporate culture and the unqualified bigots that run them. In that sense, the Intergalactic Postal Service's origin isn't much different than others in real life and as a comic, it's a polarizing experience that is sure to be talked about.