This is an old school tale from the 1970’s but it draws on styles much older going back to Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon and even John Carter of Mars.
An Earth man goes into space and returns millions of years in the future where the earth has changed into a kind of primitive world (but not one ruled by apes). As per usual he meets a feisty female companion, who quickly shuts up and serves only as a prompt for exposition.
Both the art and narrative hark back to a time when storytelling was a lot leaner and more straightforward. This may be because it was aimed at young boys and wanted to cash in on the Star Wars boom. It isn’t overstuffed with twists and rug-pulls and forced one-liners, but there is definitely a villain who keeps coming back.
The art is spectacular and typical of the fantastic fully painted sci-fi vistas of the seventies that filled all manner of coffee table books. British artist Don Lawrence, who was best known for The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire (a similar book), does an incredible job. This was back in the day before pencilling, inking and colouring were developed as separate roles so these mere 48 pages must have been a marathon undertaking. Everything feels lovingly handcrafted in a style that seems so organic it would be impossible to recreate digitally.
There is the occasional bit of clunky writing such as the astronaut named Storm is sent on the Storm Probe spaceship to investigate an actual storm. And the female lead is called Carrots. With an ‘S’. But this could be the translation as it was originally published in Dutch and has been adapted into several European languages. This also means that the speech bubbles are either really tight or mostly comically oversized. Not enough to spoil the gorgeous art however.
It does suffer from being the first book (of many) and toward the end the narration seems hell bent on describing every single panel, possibly in a rush to finish as it is only 48 pages.
If you remember the sci-fi of the 1970’s or have a passion for Robert E Howard or Edgar Rice Burrows style adventure this is a must read.