Comic Review: Primordial #1 (Image Comics)

From the experienced team of Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino comes the launch of a new Image title: Primordial. It’s about monkees in space. Space monkeys. And space dogs. […]

From the experienced team of Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino comes the launch of a new Image title: Primordial.

It’s about monkees in space. Space monkeys. And space dogs. As a fictional (“what if”) scenario dipping into the early 1960s space race between the US and Russia, Primordial delves into some fantastic concepts…

What if Mr. Nixon beat Mr. Kennedy back when, and the space race changed character. What if the test animals who were sent into space by both countries experienced things differently than in actual history?

It’s an interesting concept, and framed in disorienting fashion; moments of outer space nothingness, political and interracial friction, bobbing and weaving together in a tapestry of mystery. Lemire’s dialogue rings true, the NASA scenarios are ‘believable in a fictional context’, and have us wrapped and enraptured with the questions that are teased.

Andrea Sorrentino’s high contrast artwork tries to capture the events of the early 60’s in a concise but pre-Kubrick 2001 Space Odyssey visual fashion. There is even a nod to the iconic mid-70s Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon cover image, which seems cool but can also read as ‘being in the wrong decade’. It’s a many-faceted-loads-of-closeups piece of work, heavily shadowed and spooky. Small panels and square boxes.

The visuals are well crafted, but sometimes come across as being deliberately opaque and difficult to comprehend. Colours by Dave Stewart, letters and design by Steve Wands. Patches of closeups that don’t clarify the situation, wildly experimental pop art effects that yes, contrast with the banality of NASA’s suit and tie culture, but ultimately just slow us down as we orbit, breathlessly, hoping for the flight plan, the sunny, plot-driven narrative to return from the dark side.

Worth a read, though. Take a look, and you’ll know if it is earthbound enough for you or not.

Image Comics, Primordial #1, $3.99 for 28 pages of content. Rated mature, but suitable for teens.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!