Reviewed: January, 2023
Published: 2022, Mascot
One of the nice things about Ayreon is that the album storylines are complex and engaging. One of the not so nice things about Ayreon are that the album storylines are complex and engaging! The UNIVERSAL MIGRATOR set of two CD’s and 20 songs spread over 2.5 hours originally came out back in 2000. Of all the Ayreon concept albums I find this one the hardest one to grasp. I’ll explain why this is relevant in a moment.
22 years later, the good people at Mascot Records have reissued this epic time-bending, Fantasy/Sci-Fi tale. There are many variations and they are all pretty much sold out. One of the sets (limited to 1000 copies) included quite a bit of bonus material and memorabilia (stickers, posters etc) including a comic book. I was quite pleased to learn that Mascot was selling the comic separately so I grabbed one before they sold out too.
The 40-page comic is well presented, nice paper, thicker cover card stock and naturally everything is full-colour. The art is done by Elan Lopez a young artist from Spain, and assisted by Roy Koch. The story as you might expect is done by Arjen and is based on the album. The art and colouring is great!
Earlier I said the story of the Universal Migrator was complex and this comic did nothing to really explain or expand on the story. I think it is supposed to be that way, a bit open to interpretation. Our hero travels through time and dimensions in an ever-increasingly epic way!
This is one of those really niche comics that ties directly into the album, unlike recent comics by Helloween for example that are sort of more focused on exploring the broader concept of the band in an original storyline.
The comic is very well done and is a nice companion piece. The advice printed on the back says, ‘For maximum enjoyment read this comic while listening to the companion album’. I haven’t done that, yet. Maybe that is why I feel slightly underwhelmed at this point. It is not a quick and casual read, you really need to embrace the album and comic which I am sure most Ayreon fans already know and will do. If you are a die-hard Ayreon fan, bump my mark up a notch, and get your copy before it is out of print as well!