The sleeper ship Vanguard was sent out from Earth eighty years ago as the first in a fleet of 13 ships of Project Leap to find and chart Earth-type planets with a view to utilising their resources and to eventual colonisation. On the first planet they land on they encounter humanoid natives who are appear to be at a hunter/gatherer level of civilisation but the encounter goes badly and one of the natives is killed. The party return to the ship with the alien’s body and decide which of the sleeping crew need to be reawakened to analyse their specimen. In the meantime Vanguard’s Prime Officer, Anna Tarik, must wake Chief Engineer Julian Wells, the son of the ship’s designer who had sent a distress message to the ship from Earth whilst the crew were in hibernation.
The biggest difference between issue zero and issue one is the deliberate change to a fully CG style of artwork both on the cover and internally from the partial CG of the previous issue. The introduction by Leap co-creator Kevin Logue is upfront about this and goes to some length pointing out that just because the term ‘computer generated’ can be used to describe the art there is still a human creator behind it and that it is just as much ‘human generated’ as modern line art comics are. I agree and, while I’m not that fond of CG comics as I generally find the images somewhat soulless, by the end of its 24 pages of A4 size colour strip, this issue of Leap was beginning to win me over.
Story wise issue one continues on from where issue zero left off, indeed much of the synopsis above is from issue zero and is needed to give the background to this issue’s story. So while I would normally think of an issue zero as being a standalone prequel that doesn’t need to have been read, with Leap you really do need to have read it as it is part of the continuing story. Issue zero’s action scenes on the new planet are replaced in issue 1 with much exposition on board the ship about both the Leap mission and the background to it involving Well’s father as the crew and its alien body return to the ship. Think of it as the section of the film Alien after they have returned to the ship but before the chestburster appears – indeed Uproar are not reticent about admitting Leap’s homage to the various SF books, TV and films of their collective youth.
Leap Issue 1’s fully CG artwork is a change from the previous issue while the script begins to fill readers in on much of the background to the space mission before leaving them on a cliff-hanger that should leave them wanting more.
Uproar Comics will be at Thought Bubble in Leeds over the weekend of 15-16 November 2014 where their sales table will be in the TB Teepee marquee.