Lords of the Cosmos, Issue #1 is a full forty pages of throwback science-fantasy in comic form. In the first section, Umex Rising, the planet Aden is surveyed, a setting reminiscent of the creations of John Norman, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andrew J. Offiut, and Lin Carter, and most precisely, the Dray Prescott Saga of paperbacks that spanned 53 volumes by Alan Burt Akers.  The black and white illustrations that canvas the fantastical world where Umex rises as a dark lord evokes the cover and interior art that sold these paperbacks to wondering boys like myself in the late 1960s and early 70s.
The heroes and villains featured in The Disciples of Umex are throwback types from an earlier comic era, reminiscent of the Fantastic Four in earlier inceptions. The rogues gallery feel of this second part grabs me as a character-biased reader who reads few comics. There is no storyline adventure for each villain of the kind meant to pad out commercial collections. This is a hit list of bad guys. The trailing illustration is a very Heavy Metal type piece, with the parting dialogue promising something eschewed in mainstream comics—death, which strikes the reader as palpable on Aden.
Part Three, Eyes of the Machine, is the best thing that Ugli Studios has put out thus far, a real dystopian story board which does not depart from the heroic theme. The hideous conjunction of manmade and natural aspects of postmodern life together in a single image brings power to this “wanted” narrative. Female characters are also included in an interesting rather than in a titillating or feminist vein.
Part Four, Betrayal in the Mystic Lands synergizes the science-fiction basis of the setting with the mythic in horrific elegance.
Part Five: Tales of the Night Sea, surpasses Eyes of the Machine, in terms of narrative pace and creep-factor, which surprised this reader, expecting more of the weirdly dystopian rather than being plunged, as I was, into the horrific science-fiction imagery I enjoyed as a boy on late night TV, in which vaguely reptilian horrors of both aquatic and cosmic ilk made the suburban couch seem an unsafe place to be. The use of a recognizably human piece of technology as well as a working man’s perspective in the final part of Lords of the Cosmos #1 brings the reader back down to earth, so-to-speak, with a bit of a slimy jolt.
Thanks, Jason, for letting me preview this issue. It’s the only comic I read anymore, not infected with any of the Political Correctness that seems to ooze from the shelves of our local comic shop as relentlessly as your aquatic menagerie.
Check out Jason Lenox and his team at ThisIsUgli Studios at the link below.