After their strange and perilous journey Laika, Able, and Baker are nearing "home" but where will they land? Can an old familiar face help them or will the shoot first ask questions later nature of man cause their long trip to end in tragedy as they return to a changed world?
Time and space are always fascinating concepts in sci-fi writing, and Lemire plays with these ideas masterfully as we rejoin our three intrepid animal astronauts. Instead of picking up exactly where we left off, Lemire and the team rocket us forward in time from 1961 to 2024 (brilliantly done by artist Andrea Sorrentino in the previous issue) to an alt-history future where the Soviet Union has taken over the whole of Europe. We are reunited with Yelena Yostrovich, now an old woman who has never stopped waiting for her beloved Laika’s return and when she receives a signal of an impending object coming toward the earth, she acts. Lemire and the team marvelously communicate the passage of time and the change in status quos with flags, language changes, and names you’ve never seen but allow you to recognize exactly what’s happened immediately. We find ourselves back at the Brandenberg base as Yelena seeks to finish what she started all those years ago and bring Laika and her companions home while we learn what happened to Dr. Donald Pembrook all those years go brilliantly communicated as a shadowed black silhouette background image colored in the deepest arterial red by Sorrentino and colorist Dave Stewart.
Meanwhile on the approaching spaceship Able is having anxiety about their return to Earth as he remembers the pain he went through there. Lemire sets this in contrast to Laika’s mounting excitement at their return home and there is an absolutely beautiful moment between Able and Laika where Lemire and the art team pull deeply on the heartstrings with the beautiful pure earnestness of it. The entire team really does an incredible job of capturing the purity and naivete of these creatures who have come back changed but are still very much products of their pure base natures. Conversely, the dual nature of man is brilliantly represented in Yelena as the good, and when tragedy strikes as we are reminded of the aggressive nature of man, made worse by a fictional war between the United States and the USSR… It’s brilliant heart-rending stuff from the team that ends in a double tragic cliffhanger.
The further along we have got in this series the more I come to realize just how incredibly talented Andrea Sorrentino and the rest of the art team are, as they deftly mix powerful photorealistic imagery of this different but recognizable world contrasted with the multicolored geometric alienness of the animal’s space vehicle and then have them meet and occupy the same space. Sorrentino imbues life and character into human and animal alike and then goes in tight for facial expressions with superb tight closeup slivers of panels before driving the point home with a beautiful splash. Once again Dave Stewart and Steve Wands can do wrong on colors and letters respectively.
The last page does what all good cliffhangers do. Make you desperately need to know what will happen next. Primordial continues to be not only a marvelous alt-history sci-fi yarn but an incisive examination of the nature of man versus the innocent nature of the animals and our abuse of that innocence.
Primordial #5 is both beautifully heartwarming and tragic as Lemire and the team perfectly contrast the pure innocence of the returning animals base natures with that of human beings all the while pushing the narrative journey to a definitive climax and filling in the large gap in time with clever imagery and dialogue which tells you the story without having to implicitly explain anything at all and that's the mark great visual storytelling.
PRIMORDIAL #5: Home is Where the Heartbreak is…
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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