The Egyptian pulp adventures of "Cleopatra in Space"

The title says it all. A teenaged Cleopatra VII has been zapped to a distant future, one filled with professorial talking cats and Sphinx-shaped space bikes. She's caught in an intergalactic war — when she's not stuck in detention.

Cleopatra in Space is a neat visual twist on the classic space war adventure. In the comic's backstory, creator Mike Maihack explains that Cleo has been transported from her home in Ancient Egypt to a war-torn future where the Xerx Empire threatens to eradicate the human and alien forces of Pharoh Yasiro. But Maihack drops us right into the action, where Cleo and her professor, the space kitty Khensu, staging a raid on a Xerx ship to recover a powerful item. Only later do we get the fuller picture: Cleo is a student, one with chemistry classes and a dorm room and a knack for earning detention. She's being trained to battle the Xerx, but she's itching for larger missions.


Maihack has great fun adapting Egyptian visuals to his futuristic theme — there are aristocratic, sentient cats, metal and glass pyramids, and alien scum dressed in mummy wrappings. Maihack has a sufficiently restrained hand that keeps the motif from going over the top, but it's hard not to smile at pieces like Cleo's Sphinx bike. It also leaves room for speculation: Did this future culture make a habit of kidnapping Egyptian royals? Do the mysteries of the pyramids lurk in some space age geometry class?

Cleo is the archetypal gently rebellious trainee warrior — competent, rule-breaking, not as able to charm her way out of situations as she'd like to think. But she plays well off her chipper, good girl friend Akila and stern but loving mentor Khensu. With Maihack's charming art and quick pacing, Cleopatra in Space reads happily like a Saturday morning cartoon — if characters in Saturday morning cartoons drank whiskey on a school night.


[Cleopatra in Space]

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