Leo returns us to life on a faraway planet in Distant Worlds, a brand new series, illustrated by Icar. There doesn’t appear to be any link to Leo’s The Worlds of Aldebaran books, though they’re broadly very similar, featuring humans travelling to colonies in remote solar systems.
In this first book of the five-part series, we see the arrival of a second wave of colonists on Altair-3, a habitable planet with a mysterious past. Paul Clauden and his mother and sister were supposed to be met by his father at the spaceport but, when he doesn’t turn up, they end up having to take humble lodgings and only escape a mugging thanks to a strange, 9-feet-tall hyper-intelligent crustacean from Tau Ceti, called Stepanerk.
Stepanerk helps Paul track down his father’s last known location, then fortunately gets him hired on an archeological expedition to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the planet’s previous inhabitants, which also happens to be heading in the right direction to find Paul’s Dad.
As you might expect from part one, this doesn’t reveal much but there’s enough mystery unfolding to wrap its tentacles around you and make you want to read the next instalment. Icar’s art is different to Leo’s but his aliens are as mysterious and scary, and his alien designs fit well with Leo’s style of characters and locations.
While The Worlds of Aldebaran had monsters fighting humanity throughout, here we see the planet’s most unusual inhabitant, himself an explorer from another world, protecting our hero from other humans. It’s an interesting twist on the usual Leo plot devices but one that’s left us chomping at the bit for more.