Warren Ellis is perhaps best known for his technologically extrapolated near-future science fiction, and this book fits the mould perfectly. The US space shuttle Venture returns from space after disappearing without a trace ten years previously. However, it isn't the same as when it left, with all but one of its crew missing and a number of modifications made to it, that suggest it has been tampered with by a vastly superior extra-terrestrial intelligence. Imagine if Stanley Kubrick's stylish 2001: A Space Odyssey had been hijacked by David Cronenberg during filming and you're not far away from what to expect here.
The main crux of the book lies around the team brought together to find out what happened. In typical Ellis style, these characters are real and believable, though his obvious interest and clearly vast knowledge of space and space travel can occasionally cause the technical dialogue of his rocket scientists to come between the reader and the words, especially if that reader doesn't have an interest in the physics of space that's as insatiable as Ellis's own.
Doran's artwork is beautiful, showing off an ability to mix human emotion and scientific accuracy with the bizarre and extra-terrestrial. We also loved her moody lighting work, adding atmosphere and shade to the otherwise inevitable talking heads.
Ellis has a grand concept that isn't quite perfect but is still a damn good read, and Doran proves herself the perfect collaborator from this reader's perspective. Anyone with an eye for sci-fi will enjoy this, especially if the science of space turns you on as well.
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