Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted Chapter 5 & 6 // Review
Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted from Starburns Industries Press is an antifascist space opera with an irreverent and sardonic bent. The story takes place in a far-flung future, where the Earth has become the Sovereign Reach, a fascist colonial empire absorbing and exploiting worlds. The main character is Gryffen, a genderqueer former Reach captain who has, for reasons still currently unclear, rejected the Reach and might just become the leader the resistance needs.
In Chapters 5 and 6, Gryffen and their crew, Dao, Telika, and Seti-Stela, set out to save Telika’s homeworld from starvation by terraforming the planet, a plan that of course involves shooting Captain Gryffen out of a space cannon to deliver genetically-engineered seeds. Their plan is complicated by the arrival of Gryffen’s former commanding officer (and possibly ex-girlfriend?) Rosalind Hunter. Chaos ensues, and Telika teaches Gryffen how to inspire people.
Much of the plot is somewhat paint-by-numbers, as Gryffen is in the throes of a pretty typical hero’s journey. Writer Ben Kahn offsets the standard space-opera fare with witty characters and bonkers humor--Gryffen has no filter and seems to care nothing for societal norms or personal boundaries, and the rest of the crew make for excellent, quirky straight-men for them.
The art by Bruno Hidalgo (with color assistance by James Peñafiel and lettering by Sal Cipriano) is reminiscent of Erica Henderson at her Squirrel-Girl-best, with inventive storytelling and idiosyncratic character design.
Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted is breezy, silly fun, and these latest chapters seem to be a turning point as the supporting cast solidifies. Highly recommended for fans of space opera who want a good laugh on top of engaging characters.