The way home

Publisher: Image
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Steve Wands

Primordial has been such an emotional comic all the way through, each issue the emotions continue to ride high among stunning art which continues in this penultimate issue. I can barely wait for the conclusion because goodness me what an ending. If I felt for these animal characters before that’s nothing compared to what I feel after reading this issue. They make it to Earth but what they find waiting is not the Earth we know. For this is the future, a future that came about because of what happened to those animals all those years ago. The journey took a long time and when they return to Earth it is 2024 and politically Soviet Russia has taken over Europe.

It’s here that we see an old woman who still holds hope that her girl will com home. I don’t want give too much detail as reading her story is what makes this work but you can probably guess whom I am referring to. We start to piece together what happened in that bunker all those years ago. Not everyone made it out.

The art has some truly impactful pages. There’s one panel at the bottom of an early page that really hit me. The art is almost hyper realistic and digital but it feels drawn from a real world. There’s a tank with the Soviet symbol painted on it in black, just about noticeable. The old woman walks the opposite way to where the tank is pointing its gun. Overhead geese fly. It’s a wonderfully evocative moment. It says so much about a world where an old woman in Sweden, now a Soviet republic must queue for rations. Where she passes by a sign of oppression whilst the birds still fly free. It’s truly touching.

What’s also touching is the journey the animals are making Laika remembers home as a good place. She was well treated, she was loved. In contrast Able was not. Able does not share the same desire for home. For Able there was hurt and pain, bad things. It’s interesting to see how these animals remember their treatment at the hands of humans, and how that impacts on their gut reactions. Yet the bond between Laika and Able is strong. Their friendship, the way Able embraces Laika evokes some strong emotion.

Again there’s a change on the art. We see Able putting his hand on Laika’s head, pulling her close but the actual hug is a different style, again we get that touch of hyper realism. Able’s head and Laika’s head look almost like photographs. These are real animals with real feelings and emotions. The tiny heart floating above says more than any words could.

The human world is not sketched out in the writing or art with the same basic emotions as the animals but the emotion is there too. From the old woman offering her ration to a clearly starving mother and child, to Copenhagen looking no different in a wide panel except for the police check points the human characters go through. Everything is the same and yet different. It’s a world we recognise and yet don’t. Not just because it’s two years from now but because this is a future we don’t know, will not know.

Above all there’s hope. Hope from an old woman, hope from a dog whose travelled the stars. Yet even now humanity’s worst traits intrude giving us a heart wrenching final page that left me in genuine tears. As the space ship enters the atmosphere there’s again some great artwork. The space ship flying through skies, past a flock of birds, like a rainbow breaking through clouds. Where there’s a rainbow there’s hope but alas it’s hard to see where the happy ending might be.

If you haven’t shed a tear by the end of this issue you must have a heart of stone. There is so much emotion, friendship, hope and love spilling out in between the art of a dystopian future. It’s just an absolutely beautiful and heart wrenching book. It packs an emotional punch and has panels and images that stick with you. There’s one more issue to come and I really want hope to win out. Even if it doesn’t I know that it will be well written and equally well drawn. It’s just excellent.

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