Sentient Trade Paperback Review

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Gabriel Walta

Letterer: Steve Wands

Editor: Sebastian Girner

Review by Jason Kahler


What better time is there to read a story about isolation and uncertainty than during a pandemic?

Sentient, by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta, published by TKO Studios, is the story of a colony ship mishap that results in the ship’s AI and remaining children needing to finish the journey after all the adults are killed.

We’ve seen colony ship tragedy stories before, but Sentient takes some interesting new directions. While the loss of the adults is a novel twist, I appreciated more the story’s take on the ship’s AI, Valerie. For once, the computer isn’t the bad guy.

Quickly, Valerie and the kids find they need to do things they weren’t designed for if they want to get where they’re going. If I have one criticism about the story, it’s that I would have liked to see more room given to the thematic similarities between the children and their new digital mother. Sentient is about sentience, self-actualization, and rising above your limitations, and these are equal parts technological and biological concerns.

Who hasn’t found themselves unprepared for the situation at hand? Who hasn’t needed to find a way to perservere despite their programming?

Walta’s art has a pleasing handmade quality. At various points I was reminded of the visuals in Frank Miller’s Ronin.


Big ship. Big ideas.

The trade paperback of Sentient is currently available from TKO Studios, and during the pandemic, you can choose a participating comic book store to share in your purchase’s profits.

Verdict: This book is a Buy. Enjoy it six feet away from someone you love.

Jason Kahler is a writer and scholar who lives in Michigan. His latest work is forthcoming in the book "How to Read and Analyze Comics" from SequArt. His poem, "After National Geographic," will soon appear in an issue of Analog…

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