It is just over ten years ago that I reviewed the very first Worlds Of Aldebaran book to be published in English by Cinebook, The Catastrophe, which actually translated two of the original French books. Since then there have been three series of Aldebaran books and one series of its spin-off The Survivors totalling 21 different titles, all by Brazilian writer/artist Leo (Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira). Return To Aldebaran picks up from where the preceding books leave off and introduces the heroine of the main series, Kim Keller, to the heroine of The Survivors series, Marie Servoz, who is recruited as Kim’s bodyguard. Indeed the cover of this books is something of the Worlds Of Aldebaran equivalent of the 2000AD “Judgement Day” end page with Judge Dredd saying to Johnny Alpha, “Who the hell’s gonna mess with us?”
After the events described in the Antares series, the first official contact and working together between Humans and the Tsalterian civilisation is set for Aldebaran with Kim as the ambassador leading the human scientists working with the Tsalterian scientists to understand a mysterious box with a Quantum Gate inside it. The arrangement is controversial for the human inhabitants of Aldebaran some of whom are violently opposed to the aliens’ presence, leaving Kim in need of protection and her half Tsalterian daughter Lynn critically injured.
As it is the start of a new Aldebaran series there is a lot of discussive set-up in the story with some older characters being hived off and other new ones introduced, as well as adding Marie and Alex from The Survivors series into the main series. In an acknowledgement at the beginning, Leo describes making the decision for the book to be 60 pages long to fit this all in and so needing help with the colouring chores which were partially passed to Florence Spiteri. This is then followed by two pages of textual background as a reminder for readers of the main characters and set-up.
After the local politics and violence at the beginning, the story moves on to a remote research station were the reader discovers that the Quantum Gate is basically a ‘stargate’ style device linked to another planet which, as the science team ventures through it, allows the plot to get back to familiar Aldebaran story territory of exploring an unknown and dangerous world.
The change of colourist is barely noticeable as the talky start of the book shows off Leo’s distinctive, if somewhat static, character art before moving on to a little of his imaginative alien flora and fauna that is very much the trademark of the Worlds Of Aldebaran series.
Return To Aldebaran – Episode 1 is a somewhat staid and talky beginning to the new series but the ending shows that the series has not forgotten its roots and, as is so common with the first book in a new Aldebaran series, it tantalises the reader with the potential of what is to come over the next four (or perhaps more) episodes leaving them inevitably wanting more.
• There are more details of Return To Aldebaran Episode 1 at the Cinebook website
• There are more details of Leo’s books on the Worlds Of Aldebaran website (in French)