Comic Book Review: The Expanse Origins #2
SyFy’s The Expanse has taken the network by storm and ushered in a new wave of strong series from the network. Set hundreds of years in the future, Mars has been colonized and is at odds with Earth. Meanwhile, those in between on the belt suffer through poverty and worse. At the center of all this is a ship called the Rocinante, with a crew made up of what’s left of the Canterbury’s crew. They have found themselves at the center of a huge conflict involving something they aren’t equipped to deal with alone. This week, BOOM! Studios continues it’s look at the crew’s earliest days. “The Expanse: Origins” is a digital series that looks at the origins of the Roci’s crew and puts into perspective how each one become the person they are now. This week’s issue looks at Naomi Nagata, the chief engineer of the Roci and Canterbury. It’s a surprisingly sweet origin that lets us see the early days of a relationship with still much room to explore.
“The Expanse: Origins” #2 brings us to the day that Naomi arrived on the Canterbury eight years before the events of the show. At this time she was still dealing with the loss of someone very close to her and it showed. Once on the ship, she begins to address how badly damaged it is and meets some of the more colorful members of the crew. The biggest problem she has right now is finding a mechanic to aide her but no one seems to be qualified enough. That holds true until she meets Amos, the only qualified person on the ship but also the most dangerous.
Even though this is Naomi’s origin, Amos plays a big part in that because the two of them share this bond that only they could have. Naomi doesn’t trust so easily and Amos is probably a psychopath but between them, there is a bond that is fairly unbreakable. What this story does is give us a deeper look at that friendship in its early days and because of this, “The Expanse: Origins” #2 is incredibly sweet. Seeing Naomi’s wall come down a bit for him and he for her hits home just how much they mean to each other. Even better? It is always platonic. Even on the show, this is a deep friendship based on trust that never veers into romance. Naomi is the most level headed member of the Rocinante and because of this, she kind of tames Amos’ darker side and he learns how to not be as violent. What works so well here is having the writers of the original novels involved because what you get is a product truly meant to be canon and not something ambiguous. There are plenty of hints dropped throughout at things that get picked up later in the series and you can hear Naomi and Amos’ voices through this dialogue.
The Expanse has this kind of coldness that comes with being a show set in space. As beautifully done as the sets are, space is cold and vast and that’s something artist Huang Danlan gets across perfectly. The backgrounds are detailed and feel huge but still capture that kind of coldness that comes with space. Danlan’s characters are instantly recognizable and I especially love how he nails Amos’ one constant expression. There are some later sequences outside of the Canterbury that capture the right amount of tension and reveals a lot about this relationship. The biggest issue with the art is the coloring. Triona Farrell’s color work is technically, very sound, but it doesn’t quite capture the right tone for The Expanse. It comes off too bright and doesn’t quite match up with what you would expect to see on the series.
“The Expanse: Origins” #2 is only on Comixology but it’s a definite must read for fans of the show. It expands upon one of the very best characters on the show in a very sweet way and does provide backstory that enhances what you’ll see on TV each week.