Dale Wilson, the founder of BuyIndieComics.com has given me a wide latitude of what to do with this column. Today I’m going to review a comic from a stack of books that Dale blessed me with, Carpe Chaos: Ignition.
This is a fantastic book. The creators, Jason Bane and Eric Carter, have conceived a rich, deep universe by telling seven unique stories which range from philosophy to horror. It’s like reading Heavy Metal set in one self contained universe (something that I attempt with Force Galaxia; a collection of separate yet ultimately intertwined tales set in the same universe. I use the convention of superheroes to explore this dynamic). The first story, written by Bane and Carter with warm art by Anthony Cournoyer, introduces us to the Porg, blob like beings with large expressive eyes. As an older Porg explains to a youngster about the expanse of the cosmos, it’s a nice introduction to the the Carpe Chaos universe. The action switches and we meet the Kaeans, multi-eyed, tri-pedal beings who seemingly are arriving on the Porg world to colonize it.
The second story by Carter with art by Daniel Allen brings us to the third civilization introduced in the book: The Turikasuul, vicious looking beings, whom appear to be the most militant of the races we’ve met. In a recurring motif in the book, an elder instructs a youth; this time a father Turikasuul teaches his son to count in their native way. He ominously warns his son to not let the “Xotron” catch him counting that way, a fact of life for oppressed people throughout history. The third tale brings us to the edge of the universe as two space suited Kaeans, in a sort of cosmic Waiting for Godot, regale us with an epic poem from their civilization and discuss the existence of a god.
Although short, the fourth story is the one that was most frightening. Written by Carter with art by Allen, “Worst Case Scenario” presents a normal family of Kaeans settling down for the night. When their child sees a monster in the window, the events that follow are terrifying, particularly a reaction shot panel near the end of the story.
The next tale is uncredited, as my book had a blank page where the credits previously existed. A pregnant female elder Turikasuul attempts to give lessons to a hot headed youth. This is my second favorite story in the book as it explores the relationship between power, appearances and military intelligence.
Carter, Bane, and Allen create the last two stories in the volume .The first is a light hearted look at the Porg, as we see them wielding around on apparent Segways. The last episode in Carpe Chaos: Ignition, “Rising Up” follows the events of a group of Turikasuul on the hunt for meat. On their return home they are waylaid by a different gang of Turikasuul, the only distinction being their color, a subject hinted at but not explored completely. This story (and the book) ends with a cliffhanger but the reader is told to go to the Carpe Chaos website to see the exciting conclusion.
Carter and Bane leave us with an intriguing question: What does it mean to be human and better yet, what does humanity mean in a totally alien universe? Is the human condition, from parenting to love, a universal norm? I’m looking forward to reading more and finding out the answers to the creators questions.
Carpe Chaos: Ignition is an excellent introduction to an interesting and (so far) non-humanoid universe. I highly recommend this for anyone who enjoys science fiction.