Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands
If there’s a theme to this wonderfully put together issue it’s home. It’s what we will do to get home and how far we will go to help others reach home. Home is the key thing that drives everyone in this issue be they animal or human. It’s a really basic concept but the way that it is presented here is with such hope and emotion. It’s a simple idea elevated by the setting where this takes place.
We have after all seen the concept of animals wanting to travel home before but never like this. Never when the animals have to work an alien spacecraft of some kind, battle against asteroids (Able really comes into his own in this issue) and travel through the stars to get home which is so very far away. There is so much drama and tension but also a really beautiful friendship between these animals expressed in the writing and the art. It’s really rather beautiful.
The animals Laika, Able and Baker are friends, they work together. They have been given a strange gift for reasons we don’t understand. They don’t understand either but they are determined, thoughtful and possess a strange otherworldly knowledge paired with a sweet simple way of looking at the world. Laika, Able and Baker are the best of earth, the explorers that went out there and found something extraordinary all the while just wanting a nice home together and freedom from the horrors of their past.
Of course this contrasts nicely with the humans Yelena has not forgotten Laika and she wants to bring her home. It’s a huge risk she and Dr Pembrook are taking, the latter not even knowing what it is Yelena is planning and a little wary as a result. All Yelena wants to do is send a signal out, to reach Laika, to bring her home. It’s a devotion to an animal that seems crazy set against such a tense background and yet I think it’s one we can understand. People will do crazy things for animals and giving animals a chance to get home? That perhaps does not seem so crazy in the scheme of things.
The art remains so compelling. The visualisation of the spaceship almost made up of shards, a kaleidoscope of grey inside and sparkling colour outside. It’s something so different. It’s alien, really alien and we don’t see enough of that in sci-fi books. The fact Able and Laika are at a loss how to start it only underlines the visual of Baker’s hand activating it. This is where the art and plot work so well together. The art really gives visual life to the plot.
Even the little details of the animal spacesuits are really nicely done. Clearly of more earthly origin the spacesuits echo those of the early astronauts. It helps blend the setting of the early 60’s and the cold war with the more incredible space scenes, at least when it comes to the animals. The scenes set on earth itself are also very impactful with the shadows giving a real sense of danger. The bleak earth contrasts with the amazing vista of space.
It’s just such a good book. It’s a visual feast with wonderfully written characters and the emotion just bleeds through. We’re now over halfway through Primordial. The quality has been so consistent. I just have no other words other than to praise this book again. So, so good.