Story/Art: Dave Chisholm
What They Say:
Helen and her robot companion Arther reluctantly find themselves deep beneath the surface of the mysterious planet, exploring a vast cave system. An impossible encounter with a key figure from Helen’s murky past brings the very nature of reality into question, opening a rift between Helen and Arther. As Helen’s memories trickle back, their path towards escape grows more and more perilous, leading to a cliffhanger that perfectly fits the definition of ‘face-melting.’
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of Canopus was definitely interesting on a couple of fronts. The story itself is one that’s laid out in a familiar way with an amnesiac lead by Dave Chisholm gives you plenty of things to be intrigued by with what we see Helen realizing and trying to do as her situation reveals itself. At the same time, we also get some really good artwork that fits perfectly for this kind of story, especially everything involving Arther who only increases his role with the second issue. There’s a kind of light surreal aspect playing to all of this that fits naturally and it makes for an engaging experience to get into as we follow Helen’s journey more and more.
That journey has brought her to the chasm that she leaped blindly into in order to after the image she saw of her lost and presumably dead father. That it reveals him below in his spacesuit only raises more questions, especially with the limited word count he has and his uncertainty as to how he got there. There are obvious signs as to what’s going on with what’s really real and what isn’t but there’s also just enough to make you hedge on it. For Helen, she’s just thrilled to have him back even if Arther keeps questioning it. It’s easier to question why Arther is now twelve feet tall as he helps save her early on from some dangerous thanks to his new size. Some of this does help to spark memories within Helen, to when she had created Arther and how her idea had been stolen from her by a boyfriend. And memories of how life with another boyfriend stole something else from her just as important.
Helen’s time in this underground place has her continuing on for the resources she needs to get her ship running, made all the more important now that she’s found her father. She’s unwilling to listen to Arther’s cautions for obvious reasons and we see how she ends up in darker and more dangerous places because of it. But the denial is strong overall and she simply can’t give up on the idea that this is her father even if all logic says otherwise. Watching her struggle with that, and a situation that causes her to be left behind by him, just makes it all the worse even if you do understand why she’s acting as she is. There are good moments where she’s on the right presumed track as to what’s going on but the desire for it to be real with her father is obscuring everything else.
Canopus takes a bit further down the rabbit hole with Helen and how she’s coping with this situation in all the expected ways. She’s doing her best but the desire to have her father back is so strong that it’s overpowering common sense because she wants it so badly. I really like seeing how she manages through so much of this here and what she does to blind herself to it. Arther has it the hardest overall as he tries to navigate her emotions and the reality of what he is and it really helps to make him sympathetic. The flashback material goes a long way toward fleshing out Helen as well which is a big plus and I’m curious to see how all of this is really going to bind together by the end.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Scout Comics
Release Date: March 11th, 2020