Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Aldrin, Alien, Armstrong, CINEBOOK, Gargarinean-, Jean-Michael Ponzio, Richard Marazano, Silent Running
How’s about an old-school Sci-Fi story in graphic novel/comic book trilogy form??….Sounds right up my street and the Comics Anonymous roulette wheel of indie titles continue to deliver the goods on almost everything we read.
Set in the not-too-distant-future of 2035 – we’re dropped slap-bang in the middle of a true stellar mystery as an unidentified signal is picked up by an orbiting satellite and the Pentagon order there nearest ship to intercept this signal and find out what’s going on. Rather than just being another military based us vs them alien invasion story….we see a much more detailed and head-hurting plot unravel as the unidentified signal turns out to be a craft…..and that craft is the Apollo XI module returning to earth with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on-board. A WTF moment if ever there was one and the story begins to settle on it’s main character, Helen Freeman – an astronaut in waiting as her dreams of a Mars mission fade with budget cuts, a single-mother trying to keep her daughter in check and the name at the top of the governments list to help interrogate the returning Armstrong and Aldrin.
From here we see the attempts to juggle dreams of space and desire to spend that quality time with her daughter that she craves. Things soon spiral out of Helen’s control as in quick succession, we find out the REAL identify of the returning astronauts and a mission to the original Lunar landing drops into her lap and gets her at least 1 step closer to Moon, if not that one giant leap to Mars.
All that and we’re only through that 1st book. Family life and military life are inter-mingled, effortlessly by writer Richard Marazano – add into that the kind of mystery writing and atmosphere building moments that you would previously only get from a movie/tv series. A vibe that Marazano continues to build in book two – where we find that the Moon is simply stage 1 of the mission and that a a backup mission has been planned for to take them further into deep space, further away from the family left behind.
Thankfully, there’s enough held back in those 1st two volumes to bring this 3rd and final part to a bittersweet and yet somehow satisfying conclusion. More an investigation into space, time and the dreams we dare to dream. I hate giving details away so I’m holding back anything which could ruin this for a potential reader…..there’s so much on the go in this title…..and tying in the likes of Armstrong, Aldrin and later Yuri Gargarin, and we’re connected to the story as if we’re living it. Feeling like a mix between Alien, Silent Running and some of the TRUE sci-fi movies we consider to be classic.
What’s most compelling on this though is the human aspect – the family struggles and juggling life seemed to ring true with me as well as the pursuit of the highest skies remains a goal. Another key part to the success of this title is the GLORIOUS art from Jean-Michael Ponzio – dark interrogation rooms and spaceship control rooms hold that cramped, frustrated feel to them and we still managed to switch to the vastness of life, space and the galaxy beyond.
Great writing and sumptuous art combine to offer something different, something fresh that captures the imagination and takes us along for every step of the ride….be that mystery, shocks, heartache or more.
The Chimpanzee Complex Trilogy:
#2 The Sons of Ares
Find out about this title and more at the Cinebook website:
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