Comic review - Strange Skies Over East Berlin issues #1 & #2.

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Writer: Jeff Loveness

Artist: Lisandro Estherren

Colourist: Patricio Delpeche

1973. East and West Germany are divided by a wall.

East Germany is controlled by the Soviets and under surveillance. Informers spy upon neighbours and caught in the middle of all this chaos is Herring, a disillusioned American spy.

Posing as a Stasi Agent, trapped in a seemingly endless cold war, and fearing that his cover has been blown, Herring seeks to escape from East Germany, but his superiors have one more mission for him.

A mission that involves a mysterious object that tore through the night sky and landed on the Eastern side of the wall.

Is it a weapon, fired into the East from the UK or the US?

Or is it something else?

Something that doesn’t belong in our world?

Quarantined in a Soviet facility alongside the staff and Stasi Agent Inspektor Keiner, the one man who may know Herring’s secret Herring also has to contend with whatever it was that fell from the sky.

It can get inside people’s minds and it wants out.

I didn’t know anything about this series prior to picking it up, but the interesting cover art and the intriguing title caught my eye. And I’m glad that I did because it is a bloody good read.

The setting of the Cold War and the East\West divide is certainly intriguing and one that isn’t used very often, which helps the title to feel fresh and unique.

There air of mistrust, subterfuge, secrets and lies, indicative of that time and place, that drives the narrative is used very well with some clever, often thought-provoking writing from Jeff Loveness.

A favourite line of mine from the first issue was where Herring was pondering the nature of his job as a Stasi Agent and how even he isn’t really sure what they are actually listening for. he questions himself and the job and ponders whether they listening for lies, or are they listening for the truth, just to remember what it sounds like?

It was a great piece of writing that really summed up the atmosphere of the time.

Of course, no comic would be complete without great art, and no matter how good the writing, if the art is incomprehensible, the title would be overlooked. Fortunately, the art here by Lisandro Estherren fits the title really well. There are great character designs and the whole look of the title is evocative of the Cold War and espionage in general.

It combines wonderfully with the muted colours that colourist Patricio Delpeche has used and the overall look is suitably dystopian.

Personally, I’m thoroughly enjoying Strange Skies and even though I don’t know how many issues there will be in total, I’m looking forward to driving to my nearest comic store and picking up more as they are released because I really want to know where it is all going to end up.

Publisher Boom! Studios may not be as well-known by non-comic readers, but they have been putting out a great range of titles from things like Adventure Time, Firefly & Big Trouble in Little China to other titles such as Folklords & the upcoming second printing of The Red Mother.

Even if Strange Skies Over East Germany isn’t to your taste, you may find other titles that are more your sort of thing, so if you are an avid comic reader or a first-time buyer, it’s definitely worth taking a look on their site.

You can find more from Boom! Studios here at their official site:

I’ll also put a link here for the Strange Skies page on the Boom! Studios website as it a free preview that you can download: