In 1959, two monkeys went to space. No, really, this isn’t the comic synopsis yet. This is like real American history. We put monkeys in a rocket ship, and after a 16-minute jaunt through space, they returned safely to planet earth.
But what if they didn’t?
That’s the premise of Primordial #1 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, coming next week from Image Comics.
It’s 1961. The Cold War rages (does a Cold War rage? Fizzle?). The Space Race should be at fever pitch. But something has changed from the history we know.
Through the eyes of Dr. Donald Pembrook, we enter a spiraling mystery that stretches from forgotten NASA file cabinets to the vast reaches of space.
Sorrentino’s art seamlessly ties the small-scale grit and galactic scope of this book. But any review would be remiss to ignore Dave Stewart’s gorgeous colors; the book’s strongest moments come when the drab green-and-brown of government bureaucracy explodes into the bold purple-and-yellow of the cosmic.
Lemire’s storytelling brings tension and mystery to every aspect of the book. The moments in dingy government basements feel as pregnant as the glimpses into unknown space.
As a science fiction fan, I found this issue particularly enticing. Primordial gets to the heart of what first drew me to the genre: the mystique of the unknown, and the ability to explore it through imagination. The science fiction of this book doesn’t rely on visual clichés. Instead, it does what good sci-fi should do: It makes you feel like you’re discovering the unknown.
If you’re a fan of alternate history, conspiracy thrillers, or bizarre science fiction, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Primordial #1. It’s equal parts 2001: A Space Odyssey and All the President’s Men, and it’s totally fresh. Pick it up next Wednesday, September 15, at your local comic shop.
That one distracting visual reference7.0/10
- Writer: Jeff Lemire
- Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
- Colorist: Dave Stewart
- Letterer and Designer: Steve Wands
- Editor: Greg Lockard
- Publisher: Image Comics