Cinebook begins the spin-off series from Leo’s Worlds Of Aldebaran books with The Survivors – Episode 1, a tale set during the initial colonisation of Aldebaran IV, 100 years before the main series begins.
The reason Earth abandoned the Aldebaran IV colony was the loss of the second colony ship Tycho Brahe. This series follows a group of survivors from that colony ship who, due to the fact that suspended animation chambers were placed in all locations on the main ship, were cold sleeping in one of the ship’s shuttles. Their shuttle survives the loss of the main ship and the group of colonists wake to find that the shuttle has landed on the closest habitable planet. Venturing out into a vast forest they attempt to locate enough food to survive and try to discover if there is any form of civilised life on their new home world.
Writer/artist Leo (Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira) previous three series in the Worlds Of Aldebaran saga, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, and Antares, are all long form stories that play out over at least five French albums as he builds the reader’s knowledge of each world and its flora and fauna. While his artwork can feel static, he has a remarkable imagination for the bizarre and the highlights of his books for me are always the very alien plant, animals and other creatures that he creates. Survivors is no different in this respect as we discover floating balloon-like creatures in a forest with no birds, enormous clawed footprints, and large insectoids that may have a low level civilisation.
However the book does take a big step forward plot wise towards the end that is a little unusual for Leo’s series which normally take several books to really get going. To describe it would be too much of a reveal for this review, suffice to say that as usual with Leo’s different series I’m left wanting to know when the next book will be published so that I can find out what happens in the story.
There is nothing new or revolutionary about The Survivors – Episode 1, it is a typical Leo long-form story focussing on a small group of people who don’t all get on, lost on a vast alien world with little hope of rescue who are trying to find intelligent life on the planet. If you enjoy the Worlds Of Aldebaran series, and I do, then you will enjoy this as it is more of the same just without the familiar characters of Kim Keller and her various friends and colleagues.
There are more details of The Survivors – Episode 1 on the Cinebook website. Episode 2 is due to be published in March 2015.
There are more details of Leo’s books on The Worlds Of Aldebaran website (in French).