Comic Review: Crash and Burn Chapter 1

It’s a deceptively complex comic that initially seems pretty straightforward, but the writers work with some heavy themes, all under the guise of a diplomatic meeting.
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Crash and Burn is a webcomic by Finn Lucullan, Kate Larking, and Hannah Bradshaw Lozier. I  read chapter one before realizing it’s a webcomic with a prologue!

The first chapter follows main character and metahuman, Cora Calypté  as she navigates a diplomatic meeting with the Orno, an agender, birdlike and fabulous race that humans are at war with. But first, Cora has to navigate a humiliating and condescending medical checkup. She’s a pyrokinetic but her powers are inert. Her name gets fucked up during the visit and the doctor tries to educate her on her powers. Anyone with a marginalized identity or illness will likely relate to Cora’s experience. It’s refreshing seeing this experience play out in a comic.

She meets her fellow team members, including the overzealous Independence “Indy” Li. Everyone is excited to meet the new Orno heir, but stumble over pronouns. This particular scene reads like classic cis confusion, featuring the timeless “what pronouns do we even use???” Cora doesn’t take this lightly and tells the group not to misgender them 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 It’s at this point that I’m sold on the comic.

The first chapter flows really smoothly and takes a lot of time to establish Indy and Cora’s relationship which seems strained and a little tense. I have the feeling that Indy is into Cora, but I might be reading into it.

When they do finally meet the heir, they are both pompous and majestic, as well as condescending. All is going relatively well until the heir hits another Orno in the face. It turns out that this Orno is a slave whom no one is supposed to acknowledge. But Cora isn’t having that and demands that people pay attention, reading the Orno for their oppressive ways.

The climax hits; then the ship crashes. So much for a diplomatic visit. I have a feeling that the humans and Orno are possibly going to have to work together to get off wherever they landed.

There’s still a lot of questions for me, like what do metahumans have to do with the story and what will be the catalyst for Cora’s activation? The writers do such good work with Cora and Indy’s interactions that I’m hoping we see many more character moments between Cora and other members.

The art is lovely, clean and bright and fits the comic really well, especially the Orno character design and the diverse colors and sizes of the characters. I’m really looking forward to the setting moving off the ship to see how the artist handles other environments. If it’s anything like the space port, it’s also going to be a delight to view.

Crash and Burn is off to a great start and I highly recommend it to science fiction fans and people who want agender representation in their comics.

REVIEW SCORE: 8.5

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