Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artwork: Andrea Sorrentino
Colours: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Steve Wands
Release Date: 15th September 2021
At the height of the space race, Russia launches the dog Laika into space, and America launches two monkeys, Abel and Baker. Both missions are recorded as failures, the animals dying in the attempt, and shortly after, both nations abandon their attempts to explore space and shut down their respective agencies. Both nations however are hiding a terrifying secret; Laika, Abel, and Baker did not die, they were taken…
Stop what you’re doing and add this first issue to your pull list right now. Don’t argue, just do it. You’ll thank me later.
If you need further convincing then let me ask you a couple of questions. Are you a fan of James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds’ Department of Truth? Are you a fan of Ram V and Anand RK’s Blue in Green? Are you a fan of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s We3? Are you a fan of the Eisner Award-winning Gideon Falls? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should definitely pick this title up.
Right from the off, this has the same artistic feel as Department of Truth and Blue in Green, and obviously Gideon Falls; with the same tense, suspenseful writing (albeit these books cover vastly different subject matter). Blue in Green may be the title that has you scratching your head a little, but for me the feel of the narrative and pacing, as well as the artwork and design, immediately had me grabbing my copy off the shelf to reference. We3 is a slightly more tenuous link and I think I only jumped to it based on Image’s blurb and the closing pages of the issue.
Based on the blurb Image have on their website and with the advantage of reading first issue ahead of you, I think that this is going to have deliver a tense, Cold War space race thriller mixed with the super intelligent animal protagonists of We3. I also think there’s something of the 2001 film series in this title, and the unknown, unidentifiable event/entity that ended the space race has something of the intelligence that is directing the development of humanity – but that could just be me pulling themes and tropes from a lifetime of sci-fi novels and movies. This is certainly a first issue that invokes a lot of ’60s and ’70s Cold War sci-fi books and movies.
I’ve drawn comparisons above between this title and the work of Martin Simmonds and Anand RK, and it is a valid comparison, but please don’t assume that I’m saying that Andrea Sorrentino’s work is in any way derivative of this. Coupled with Dave Stewart’s colours and Steve Wanda’s lettering and design, Sorrentino produces incredible art that has so much depth, drama and tension in it, but at the same time can leave you utterly disoriented and lost in the at times vertigo-inducing panel design/progression which wouldn’t feel out of place in a Grant Morrison title. If you have read Gideon Falls then you know what to expect in Sorrentino’s work and this is easily the equal of that work.
If you’re even remotely into Cold War, space race, or science fiction titles in general, then I think this is a series that will drag you in from the first page. I also think that if the series maintains the same high quality as this first issue has then I certainly think we’re going to have another series as good as Gideon Falls, Department of Truth, or Blue in Green on our hands.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek