I was cruising NetGalley for new stuff to read, and came across Sentient (Deluxe Edition) by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Gabriel Walta, with letters by Steve Wands. The names drew my eye immediately, as I know Lemire’s writing from following up the legendary Hawkeye run by Fraction/Aja/etc., and Gabriel Walta’s art from The Vision. The resulting comic is a slick sci-fi adventure adventure that could be pulled from our own Earth’s future.
Sentient begins with us on board the USS Montgomery, a colony ship with a small group of officers, scientists, and their children. The perspective switches between two pairs – Officer Wu and her daughter Lil, hugging and talking about Lil’s birthday, and Officer Kruger with her son Isaac. Their relationship is clearly more serious but even with that, she seems stressed. The reason why becomes clear, and leaves the children fighting for survival aboard the Montgomery, with only the ship’s Artificial Intelligence, Valarie, to keep them safe.
Lemire is not one to overwhelm a page with words. He seems to know exactly how many are needed, and allows the art and lettering room to fill the pages. Walta’s art is always full of curves, with the Montgomery itself being bulbous grey metal. It clearly looks like a ship rushed into production on a dying Earth. The colors are muted, gray with some muted green from the uniforms worn by most of the crew. It makes the blood stand out all the more.
The children are well written. I’m reminded of Sosuke in Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, or Satsuki and Mei in My Neighbor Totoro. Things are bleaker here, but in all cases the children seem like children – capable of more than you think, but with the big emotions that are so hard to deal with.
I enjoyed Sentient a lot. It’s definitely worth seeking out if you’ve enjoyed Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta’s other work. It’s available in multiple forms, with the “Deluxe” hardcover edition being linked above. That includes more than 70 additional pages of script and art pages showing the process of creation. For just the story, your simplest solution is the Kindle/Comixology link to get the TPB digitally. Happy reading!