1957: the USSR launch Laika, a dog, into space. Laika dies while orbiting the Earth. Fast forward two years and the US send two monkeys, Able and Baker, into space. Both monkeys seemingly die and, like Laika, are never recovered – but what if all three creatures were alive? What if they weren’t lost, but taken? In 1961, with the US space program shutting down, a scientist stumbles upon some very disturbing data – that looks likely to change everything we think we know about what’s out there in the void.
That’s the premise of this intriguing Cold War sci-fi thriller from writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino, which gets off to an absolutely incredible start with this first issue. The X-Files-esque, period set-up is rendered perfectly by Sorrentino, with photorealistic depictions of characters and scenes within some absolutely mind-bending layouts and designs, including one double page spread which is a tribute to a certain Pink Floyd album cover.
Though in reality the US animals survived (albeit not for long after recovery for poor Able, but Baker survived for 24 more years), the set-up is believable and steeped in authenticity, despite the story giving us some very far out, hypnotically psychedelic sequences. Jeff Lemire even works in some period appropriate social commentary, thanks to the story’s African American protagonist.
The compelling story leaves us with lots of questions by the issue’s climax – and it’s going to be very interesting to see how everything unfolds over the course of the six issue series. With great writing and absolutely phenomenal art, Primordial #1 is a comic I can unequivocally recommend.
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