The murderer of Carlyle White is still at large, but his son Michael still has hopes of finding out why. That is, if he can keep his pants zipped long enough to think straight. Your Major Spoilers review of Satellite Sam #10 awaits!
Previously in Satellite Sam: Satellite Sam is the biggest hit on the LeMonde network, and the loss of its star nearly sank the show and the network alike. Michael White was able to step into his father’s shoes (and space-suit) easily enough, but his attempts to find out who killed his father haven’t been nearly as successful. The fact that Dad’s personal effects included a large collection of photographs of various young ladies in various states of undress, as well as the secrets and lies behind the products of the show have left a large number of suspects to choose from…
THEY AIN’T KIDDIN’ ABOUT MATURE AUDIENCES
Michael White’s efforts to discover his father’s killer have led him to a lingerie shop for answers, and the scene that opens this issue is possibly my favorite of the series to date: As the saleswoman gives him a detailed explanation of the parts and manufacturing of high-end stockings, their dialogue and interactions become more and more sexually charged, ending with Michael and the saleswoman acting on their attraction in the changing room. It’s a scene that shows the strengths of the series, with Fraction taking us through a mystery/noir tale without hitting all of the clichés of the genre, with Chaykin drawing attractive people coming to terms with the fact that they really want to jump one another. The rest of the issue gives us plot developments building up to our “season finale”, as network head Ginsburg reveals his color broadcast technology, while two other cast-members secrets (one is closeted, the other passing for white while black) are revealed, and director Dick Danning has a difficult turn in his fight with cancer. Everything is primed for conflict, and when Michael has an on-air breakdown and fist-fight with a fellow actor, and the issue ends with Michael furtively meeting with a woman (which I’ll get to in a minute).
I’m a huge fan of Howard Chaykin, from way back, and this series features him in his element: the vintage cars and television equipment look great, his use of texture and shading give every fabric texture and depth, and of course, the various lingerie his draws is exquisite. My only complaint comes in that some of his faces have a similarity to them that makes it difficult for me to know if Mike ended the issue in the arms of Kara, his crush, or torch-singer Eve. This may actually be intentional on the part of the creators, I’m not sure, but it did require me to flip through the book more than once looking for guideposts. I am a fan of this book since the very beginning, combining the film noir and adult aspects into a story that has historical accuracy and depth to it. Every character has their own motivations and acts in ways that make sense, even when they’re doing things that are stupid or self-destructive, and of course, they all look pretty amazing. This issue leaves me really frustrated, in all the right ways, as it constitutes a “season finale”, a break before leaping into the third act of our story (and possibly the climax and reveal).
THE BOTTOM LINE: A MADDENING CHAPTER
Aside from the frustration issue in the closing, though, this is a very solid issue featuring several turning points for our mystery, and possibly the seeds of everyone’s inevitable defeat. Satellite Sam #10 hits the spot, with the stocking sequence in particular standing out as remarkable, and excellent work from Howard Chaykin, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I recommend this book to all (adult) fans of mystery, soap opera or attractive people doing sexy stuff…