Rating: ★★★☆☆

Relaunch is one of the comics heavily featured on Comixology Submit, the section of the digital comic distributor focused on independent creator-owned comics, from writer Ron Perazza and artist Daniel Govar.

This one-shot comic is set aboard the cockpit of what you we can only assume is some sort of spaceship designed to monitor… something. The description reads “When the deep space utility ship Inspiration is damaged during a solar flare it’s up to its pilot and sole occupant, Cris, to make things right”, but that should be conveyed in the comic itself, not the description. Frankly, this comic is not terribly strong in the story department; it seems to suffer from a restricted length. Relaunch is a quick read that does not seem to have the time it needs to tell the story adequately, and there is little context within the pages to let the reader know what is going on. That is not to say the story is all bad though. There are some subtle storytelling techniques hidden here and there that are quite nice and some of the dialogue is good, there just is not enough there to be really compelling.

That being said, the design is fantastic. The art itself is definitely solid, but where this comic really shines is in the layouts. Relaunch could simply not exist in print form. Rather than just flipping from one page to the next, Relaunch uses the guided view mode to make the frames change before your eyes and evoke a sense of motion. The backgrounds stay the same while the characters and objects in the foreground change subtly, one scene even shows the story unfolding on the right side of the frame while the left is full of technical readouts displaying the status of the ship. In a printed comic book that fashion of storytelling would make no sense, but the digital format lets the creative team tell the story in a new way.

It is hard to say whether or not Relaunch is worth your time. On one hand, the story and dialogue are not terribly compelling. On the other hand though, this comic makes inventive and interesting use of a feature that is really exclusive to the digital comic format. Relaunch is only 99 cents, so it may be worth your while just to see how the creative team has pushed the envelope.

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This article was first posted on March 10, 2013