Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Antares episode 1 review

This series is, I think it is safe to say, the very definition of Epic.
Antares follows on from writer/artist Leo’s previous two trilogies: Betelgeuse and Aldebaran.
Now, I should admit here that I have not read any of the volumes of the above mentioned books, which may just put me in the perfect position to review this one unencumbered by expectation… or at least that’s the line I’m using here!
It appears to pick up very soon after the events in the previous story, and the threads are deftly explained so I was not left with any ‘I don’t know what’s happening’ moments – at least not because of the exposition.
Because there are quite a few ‘I don’t know what’s happening’ moments in the narrative, in fact it ends on an incredible cliffhanger that had me shouting at the book for daring to leave me hanging like that!

This is a complex book. There are a number of storylines running at the same time, and each of them in densely plotted, but not to the expense of storytelling which is deceptively fluid and easy. An awful lot of work has gone into making this book a smooth read. And I think it’s a mark of how well each strand is written that when each one finished and we returned to another, I wanted to stay there and see what happened next.
There are also some very bold storytelling moves that really should leave the reader feeling short changed, but don’t. For example, one character has a major life changing revelation, and while the reader is absorbing this, we turn the page to a caption saying ‘Two years later’.
As for the art, it is superb. Sometimes the figure work leans on the stiff side, but each character is wonderfully realised, and facial expression are rendered with extraordinary precision.
The flora and fauna on Antares are another treat. Leo has obviously thought long and hard about the ecosystem on the planet, and without spelling it out through dialogue or captions, he leaves the reader with a perfectly clear idea of the way this world has evolved.
So, in summary then… Cinebook have done it again and you need to buy this.

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