“2015: Space Series” is a science fiction anthology curated by the webcomics mogul, Webtoons. Every single story covers a different theme, such as global terrorism, humanity’s attributes, aliens, etc. However, each theme intertwines with one another as it reminds us of the beauty and cruelty life presents. Also, each story tends to focus on humanity’s relationship with outer space. For example, one webcomic called “In Universe, Life” takes us on a boy’s journey through the cosmos and allows us to have a surreal atmosphere as we travel through outer space. On the other hand, we have a story like “Lost In Space”, which focuses on an astronaut’s time in captivity on a UFO. With that being said, many of the stories cover graphic themes such as terrorism, graphic violence, dubious consent, etc, and are not suited for younger audiences.
While there are many stories to cover in the anthology, I will only be covering a few of them. One of my favorite stories in the series was “Salyut” written by Yongsun Lee and Songchun Lee and art by Seungchan Lee. This story focuses on the space race and the relationship between a team of American astronauts and Soviet astronauts as they orbit in outer space. I love this story because it focuses on a life-changing moral decision of a Soviet astronaut when it comes to holding the lives of several Americans on a space ship. Another personal favorite was “The Interview” by Hanna. This tale focused on humanity’s expansion towards the stars and the religious and ethical implications of exploring beyond our capabilities. Even with the themes that are presented, there’s an underlying trend of angst and despair. Given that this is a normal trick to use in writing, I do wish that the creators used other storytelling techniques to beef up their stories.
In terms of the characters that appear in every story, all of them have relatively “normal” personalities to what we know considering the theme of the series. For example, “The Interview” focuses on a newscaster’s special interview with a famous astronaut. Although the story focuses on the creation of a building that reached into outer space and further exploration in outer space, it still centers back on the astronaut’s accomplishments in life. On the other hand, “Not Alone” focuses on an astronaut who is humanity’s last hope for survival as he attempts to send a space pod to revive the race. Although the story itself is out of this world, it attempts to focus on the astronaut’s hope and determination to do whatever it takes to revive humanity. I wish the characters in this story were more drawn out with unique traits. While it is impossible to create entirely “unique” characters, I wish there were more characters that could be memorable. In fact, the only characters I found memorable were the aliens who kidnapped the astronaut considering the fact I spent the entire story trying to figure out why they kidnapped him in the first place.
It should be noted that many of the stories were plot-driven rather than character-driven. With that being said, I believe that the plots brought out the characters’ personalities more than anything else. I recognize the hypocritical nature of what I just said considering how stories are defined by a character’s actions. However, I do think there are only a few stories that focused on the characters more than anything else. For example, The Echo, by Sandman, focused on a man’s thoughts as the last human alive after he was sent to the cosmos. Unlike the other stories, this one allowed me to see how the man saw himself and his relationship with his girlfriend.
In terms of the art styles for all of the stories, I found myself having mixed feelings at the end of the series. Stories such as, “In Your Prison” and “The Interview” had sketchbook styles that made the story feel a little clunky. However, works like, “In Universe, Life” and “Not Alone” have colorful art styles that balance themselves on the edge of realism and creativity. Even though it is difficult to criticize art styles due to their subjective nature, the art styles in every story are either a hit or miss when it comes to an artist’s talent.
The series covers a wide variety of topics when it comes to humanity’s relationship with space. While there’s a variety of plots that capture a person’s attention, the characters leave me feeling empty. I expected more personality from them rather than seeing them overruled by plots. This series is for the person who wants to take a basic course on philosophy without getting too in-depth with all of the details.