Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
Anything new by Jeff Lemire is going to peak my interest. The man could draw a couple of stick figures on a paper bag and I’d probably declare it an excellent comic. So I was excited to hear that the creative team from Gideon Falls would be working together again on a new title. Gideon Falls was a really good comic and I do like it when creative teams stick together on new and different projects when they have worked so well together previously.
Add to that a premise involving the space race and animals in space and you’ve got a concept that really excited me. I’m a fan of the space race and have read about those poor pioneer animals who didn’t make it back. I love the idea of taking the story of those creatures and doing something new and different with it. A bit like a sci-fi/horror take on the space race. Really an exciting idea and with this creative team I kind of got excited knowing the quality of story and art that would be used on this concept.
Primordial was quite a hyped book, but does it live up to that hype? Yes, yes it does. Seriously, I got hooked within just a few pages. There’s some really interesting ideas here. As soon as it was revealed that the US had abandoned the space race in this book the narrative immediately had my attention.
The intrigue of government and truth and plot is a staple of sci-fi but it feels original here. Doctor Pembrook is a really good POV character. The way he has this curiosity, puzzlement and desire to investigate, because he’s a scientist and that’s what scientists do, is really great. The fact he’s black adds another layer to the way the other characters treat him. There’s some really great classic sci-fi tropes which I love. I don’t want to say much because there’s some cool reveals but it feels as strong as any of Lemire’s recent work.
There is also some really great artwork. Andrea Sorrentio’s style worked so well in Gideon Falls and it works really well here. The panel choices are so interesting and really reflect the sci-fi nature of this tale. There’s a touch of the weird, a touch of the strange and alien about this book and the panel choices really suggest that tone so perfectly. There’s such a mix between the vastness of space and the dark shadowy aspects on Earth with both being really well portrayed. You can really feel the tension in some of the scenes. And the intimate nature of some of them really helps with our POV character Doctor Pembrook. The art also evokes the period really well in the way everything from cars to phones to clothing are portrayed. It fits really well on every level with the writing.
I love the fact that even the letterer, Dave Stewart, is from the previous collaboration. There’s not a lot of chance for something different but what you need is clear lettering that works. The choice of lettering font really fits nicely with the tone of the book. There’s some really nice emphasis on certain key words as well. You can feel the speech reading as speech which is what I want from speech lettering. Nice work.
It’s hard to say what my favourite aspect of this book is without getting into spoilers! I think just the idea of something happening to cause the space race to be abandoned. That mystery is just really fascinating. The implications of what happened to the animals sent into space is hinted at throughout as well. It’s such a strong setup. I love a good sci-fi mystery and this is a really good sci-fi mystery.
I am very much on board. The central mystery is set up nicely. I really like Doctor Pembrook. I want to see more of this alternate space history. I think this worked really well as a first issue. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to what’s coming next.