Kieran Fisher reviews Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs #1…
‘With humanity settling the outer reaches of the galaxy in a new frontier, pioneers are kept safe by the Star Sheriffs, an elite law enforcement agency led by chief weapons designer April Eagle. When top-gun Saber Rider steps in to stop a train robbery, he finds a reluctant new ally in the shifty bounty hunter Colt and a clue to the whereabouts of a notorious traitor who might be helping the enemy Outriders.’
Originally airing in 1987 and airing for 52 episodes, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs was a short-lived action-packed space western cartoon, based on a Japanese anime series called Star Musketeer Bismarck. It told the story of the “Star Sheriffs’’, a task force working on behalf of a military operation known as Earth’s Calvary Command – it was their duty to protect the New Frontier, a colonised set of planets inhabited by human settlers from threats and bring criminals to justice. Their main adversary was an alien terrorist organisation known as The Outriders, who weren’t very nice basically.
Over the years the series has collected dust in the vault of forgotten Saturday morning cartoons, only remembered by the select few who actually watched the show during its original run. While it is available to buy on DVD, it’s a rarity to hear of it ever mentioned. However, a great concept is a timeless, and Mairghread Scott deemed Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs worthy of a resurrection in a brand new four-part comic miniseries. Having previously worked on Transformers and Power Rangers comics, she’s no stranger to re-adapting childhood nostalgia for us oldies to relive and new generations to discover. Unfortunately, with Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, the first issue is a mixed bag.
Fans of the show are bound to have fun with the opening to this arc, as it stays true to it in terms of spirit. It’s a natural successor that embodies everything that made it so enjoyable; so much so that the artwork even evokes the cartoons of that era. From the opening panel you’re transported into a vintage universe that incorporates classic westerns and futuristic science fiction, and all in all it’s an interesting mix. The sense of adventure also remains firmly intact, while retaining a sense of exuberant daydreaming and escapism that will appeal to children and adults who haven’t fully grown.
Despite these qualities, however, it just isn’t very memorable and will probably struggle to appeal to an audience beyond that of established fans of the series and the Saturday morning cartoons of yesteryear. Furthermore, while heavy on action and never boring, the introduction to the characters lacks some focus; newcomers will probably find them forgettable. But there is enough action and minor character development to remain engaged.
Overall, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is passable entertainment that serves as a natural successor to the cartoon in many ways, but it isn’t noteworthy enough to recommend unless you’re a fan already. By all means check it out if you need something to occupy your mind on a train journey or a five-minute visit to the toilet, but there’s no reason to go out of your way to read it. Although, if you do, it will neither disappoint nor enthral.
Rating – 6/10
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