Sunday 5 December 2010

Strangers: Homicron, by Lina Buffolente and others

Disaster strikes a mission to the moon, but luminous Homicron, the envoy from Alpha, helps the astronauts return safely to Earth. Upon meeting his rescuer Major Ted White suffers a fatal heart attack, leading Homicron to possess his body, inherit his memories, and, as Homicron comes to realise, his feelings for Doctor Rita Tower. From the beginning he has the power of telepathy and mind control, and soon he is able to unlock his Alphan abilities, including flight, superhuman strength and phasing through solid objects.

The first section of this book was originally serialised in Futura, a French comics magazine, beginning in 1971. This English adaptation is by Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, whose previous translations include Marvel's Moebius graphic novels. The second section is from a later revival in Fantask, written by Lofficier and with art by Jean-Jacques Dzielowski. It's a grittier take on the story, focusing at first on Frank Universal and Sally Swift, ecological investigators for the World Safety Unit and eventually introducting a new female Homicron.

This isn't a fantastic book or an remarkable discovery – it would be kind to describe the dialogue as functional, and the storytelling is very basic – but reading it was an absolutely lovely way to spend an afternoon. In its broad strokes the story resembles Fantastic Four or Green Lantern, but the approach is entirely European, and that gives it a very unusual feel. It's similar in style to Starblazer or Bonelli comics, and if you like that kind of thing you'll probably enjoy this very much.

Strangers: Homicron, Lina Buffolente et al, Hexagon Comics/Black Coat Press, pb, 364pp.

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