Jerry Frissen and Philippe Scoffoni’s sci-fi thriller sees mankind discovering a habitable exo-planet, but the indigenous population doesn’t want humans to come

Exo by Jerry Frissen and Philippe Scoffoni

Taking a break from collaborating with Alejandro Jodorowsky on the new Metabaron series, Jerry Frissen’s sci-fi thriller Exo is a more current take on humanity’s journey to the stars.

Set in the near future, a NASA scientist discovers a habitable planet that looks worthy of sending colonists to. However, the discovery triggers the awakening of an ancient alien intelligence, which seems set on stopping humanity from exploring outside its own solar system.

The plot bundles a familiar set of sci-fi tropes into this new story, from hidden alien tech in the depths of oceans and the dark side of the moon, to malevolent alien parasites that can take control of humans by crawling up their noses and lodging themselves in the host’s brain. To this end it comes across as somewhat derivative, but the climax takes the story on an unexpected path, which helps make up for any old ground that’s retrodden on the way.

The art is functional and business-like. There’s a smattering of interesting alien artefacts, which Philippe Scoffoni designs with a feeling of solid authenticity, though much of the detail is drowned by the shadowy environments it’s discovered in. This has the extra benefit, however, of making it even more mysterious. The human characters and tech are also drawn with a designer’s eye, though things like space helmets can make it hard to keep track of which astronaut is saying what.

In essence it’s a gentle sci-fi thriller, that doesn’t push too hard against established boundaries. While it remains a largely satisfying read, we couldn’t help thinking it would have been a bit more interesting if it had taken a few more risks.

Exo by Jerry Frissen and Philippe Scoffoni

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