I picked up Biotope without knowing much about it because of Brüno. His collaborations with Fabien Nury (Tyler Cross and Atar Gull) have ranked amongst my top books of the last few years, so I was keen to see how his distinctive art style played out with a different writer in a sci-fi setting.
Appollo’s script is fantastic. In 48 short pages he builds a tense crime thriller, which starts with some gentle character building but does nothing to prepare you for the thunderous rate at which it then accelerates into a tornado of mystery and intrigue.
Likewise, Brüno’s art is as wonderful as we’ve seen it. His characters are defined and caricatured without descending into silliness, embracing the differences in human shapes, sizes and colours. The juxtaposition of a high-tech base, overwhelmed by a lush planet of trees and flora, is beautifully constructed and coloured. More than a backdrop, it’s a character in its own right.
Between Brüno and Appollo, Biotope 1 ends up as a masterclass in sci-fi police thrillers, well worth your time. If you liked Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard‘s Brink, I’d heartily recommend this. Its European take on a similar theme is different but this first book is just as good as the first volume of Brink.