Antarctic Press 2018
Written by Selena McDevitt & Larry Spike Jarrell
Pencilled by Larry Spike Jarrell
Inked by Bill Marimon & Larry Spike Jarrell
Coloured by Alethea Von Holland & DK Boss
6,000 years ago, the Annunaki, visitors to Earth, departed with numerous animals as subjects for study and DNA experiments. Centuries in the future, these evolved beasts, collectively known as N'Naki, have created vast civilizations in the Sirius system, with humans serving as their worker bees. One group of N'Naki are given a pre-graduation duty: Scan a mining world of human workers that's fallen victim to a viral infection before the planet is demolished to stop the disease from spreading. But when a sixteen-year-old Annunaki girl turns up, the mission quickly becomes anything but routine.
There are a few things that I found myself liking about this book. Now I have had my mind opened more lately to these anthropomorphic animal stories, more so when like this one they aren’t mean to be cute. These N’Naki are races of animal species and they are highly intelligent, trained in a myriad of disciplines and as we meet them here we see just how advanced they’ve become. Of course there are plenty of humans in space too but they are seen as slave labour, a race that breeds much too quickly and are inherently disposable. It really is a nice turn around from what we normally see. While humans are regarded highly they aren’t hunted either which is a fresh take all around.
I like the way this book is structured. The opening page with the credits has a not so brief background on the idea for this series. it’s a great thing to read too since it really does help put everything into perspective and gives us a better understanding of how things got to where they are here. With that it’s easy to just jump into the story without having to worry about origins or needing backstory. This allows them to really let the story take centre stage and for some amazing characterisation start right away.
While the uniforms and setting make me think of an alternate version of Star Trek with kids who have just graduated the Academy it really seems to fit with the whole overall attitude of the story at hand. I hadn’t seen that really when I was reading it but writing this it really jumps out at me so impressive is a very good word for how all this plays out. The ebb & flow of the story and how we see things start to play out here opens up this path of possibilities and it looks like the road less travelled may be the one they take but we’ll see.
I love the interiors here. The linework is gorgeous and how it’s used to create those really nice crisp clean lines in the attention to detail is great to see. The colours too here are sensational, bright and vibrant and in three dimension holograms it definitely leaves an impact. There is something to be said for how lovely and bright the colours are making me think of the Saturday Mornings of my youth. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows a good solid eye for storytelling. The way that the backgrounds are utilised is also nice to see and really fleshes out the moments they are in and give us a nice sense of size and scope to the story.
I love being surprised and kept on my toes and I am reading a story and that certainly happens here a number of times. There is a nice build-up of tension and we are left with a sense of dread by how the book ends. Antarctic Press has quietly been putting out some of the most interesting and well executed books and they run the gauntlet of genre’s and ages. Make sure your local comic shoppe is ordering these.