Antares: An Achievement in Graphic Storytelling

Antares Episode 6, written and illustrated by Leo, Cinebook £7.99/$13.95

The Antares graphic novels are part of a graphic novel sequence which must mark some kind of record for a writer and artist. The entire cycle is about humanity colonising distant planets, and currently comprises into 3 cycles: Aldebaran and its sequels Betelgeuse and Antares. Each cycle contains a number of graphic novels, each corresponding to a different planet. 

Antares6Each cycle contains a number of graphic novels, each corresponding to a different planet. Each of the cycles introduces new secondary characters although the central characters and story are constant. In 2011 Leo released a fourth cycle, Survivors, taking place concurrently with Antares and introducing new characters. This brings the current number of graphic novels in the sequence to 19, which is pretty impressive all things considered.

Without summarising all of the cycles it is almost impossible to bring you up-to-date with what’s happening in Antares 6: this is the last book of the Antares cycle and so kind of resolution is reached but without giving out massive spoilers talking about what kind of resolution it is, is problematic. Leo has created an entire universe in this sequence of novels and illustrated that universe with an appealing combination of the “clear line” style with a lovely, delicate, painted quality. Apparently, this is the first album that Lee urges digital colouring on and yet it still fits beautifully with the earlier albums. In a way, I feel that in English-speaking countries this sequence will only really reach a mass audience when it is printed in collected volumes containing a cycle in each. I’m pretty certain I’d pay for that, and would be even more likely to do so if they were printed at a larger page size. I would also like Cinebook to remove the censorship from some of the albums (nudity was covered up, and although not in any way essential to the story it did sometimes actually conflict with the plot points) and produce an “Absolute” Worlds of Aldebaran collection.

In the meantime, this is all we have, the quality of the storytelling and art is exceptional, so if you like science fiction, and you’d like to read something that is a bit more grown up than Guardians of the Galaxy, try Antares.

Peter Mann

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Antares Episode 6, written and illustrated by Leo, £7.99/$13.95
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