Comic Vine Review


Satellite Sam #1 - The Big Fade Out


Sexy. Criminal. Retro. Television. If any of these words sound good to you, you're probably going to want to get your filthy hands on this book.

The Good

I'm not sure what brought Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin together for a creator-owned title, but I'm certainly happy about it. Fraction's dialogue is quippy -- almost Sorkin-esque -- and perfectly period, and it meshes with Chaykin's bold, expressive, retro art like a well-stirred martini. The murder mystery is icing on the cake; I'd probably read this book even if it were just a saucy dialogue-centered drama on the set of the show.

SATELLITE SAM is sexy, in a way that makes you feel almost a little bit dirty for reading it. Part of this is Chaykin's natural talent for drawing pin-ups, part of it is the surprisingly lush detail packed into black-and-white panels, part of it is the harkening to a more polite era, and then there's a little bit that just comes from the tone set by a series opening with a murder. It's sexy in its pacing, too -- we know from the cover that we're going to find a body by the end of the issue, but the reveal is drawn out, even as everything else happens rapidly.

The Bad

The "Fraction Caveat" (it's my new academic theory, just roll with it) is that you have to have faith in the story and know that there are layers beyond the hip, sometimes writerly dialogue. Things that seem nebulous or arbitrary right now will make sense in the much grander picture, but if you don't keep up, you'll probably be frustrated (see also: "Hickman Corollary"). The black-and-white palette and snappy, fast-paced dialogue -- both things that I'd consider assets, because they really are done well -- can make the character roster confusing and the plot marginally difficult to follow, so I recommend a more deliberate reading with this book.

The Verdict

There's a lot of noir on the stands lately. There's a lot of good noir, even. But even amidst that particular bit of saturation, I'm going to predict that SATELLITE SAM is going to stand out as something special. Something dangerous is brewing, and we've only gotten a snapshot of it -- I'm fairly certain that the murder of Carlyle White is going to be nearly forgettable in comparison to what's next. Like a serialized TV fan, I'm hooked and want to see the next episode of SATELLITE SAM.