Spinning off from the popular podcast of the same name, Voyage to the Stars follows the wacky adventures of a crew of semi-experienced space travellers. Following the destruction of Earth, the crew of a lone spacecraft head out on the hunt for something that can stop an ancient evil from consuming the rest of the universe. That’s if they can stay focused enough to stay alive…
This comic, and the podcast, is a particular brand of over-the-top, lude and a bit gross comedy. Think adult cartoons like Big Mouth and sci-fi animations like Rick and Morty. A litmus test for if you’ll be on board with Voyage to the Stars is your reaction to big fake testicles on a giant robot. Did you snort? Giggle? This is for you. Did you roll your eyes? It’s probably not.
As a translation of the podcast, each character is imbued with the voices of the actors who play them. Captain Tucker (Colton Dunn) is snarky and overconfident, Elsa (Felicia Day) is easily distracted and easily annoyed, and A.I. Sorry (Janet Varney) is dry and brilliant. The main cast also includes Nico (Kirsten Vargness) – a dramatic cat-person, and Stew (Steve Berg) – the ship’s technician and a human-machine hybrid.
This story takes place between season 2 and 3 of the podcast series but serves as a kind of jumping on point if you’re new to the show, or a prologue, if you’re already a listener. The partially improv’d podcast, with story by James Asmus and Ryan Copple, captures the musing asides and wink-wink-nudge-nudge wordplay of the audio version. Artist Connie Daidone adds bold, colourful visuals that feel action packed and emotionally charged. It’s a good match between the zippy dialogue and the cartoonish art style.
Tucker, Elsa and the crew journey to strange worlds, bicker and fail upwards (or just plain fail) in their quest to save the universe. The hijinks lead to calamities of all sizes, which they cover up and compensate for in farcical ways. If there’s a misunderstanding to be had, they have it. Eventually, this short graphic novel comes to an open-ended conclusion that looks to lead naturally into the next season of the podcast. It’s a satisfying enough adventure if you’re happy to be along for the ride.
However, unless you’re on board with characters who make bad choice after bad choice, this can easily become tedious and bland. As someone who can’t see the funny in a fart joke, there are few laughs (if any) in Voyage to the Stars. While the art is nice to look at, the dialogue doesn’t spark joy because the story falls flat. Underdogs can be easy to root for, but blundering buffoons, less so.
Voyage to the Stars was published by IDW on 15 June 2021