Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Chimpanzee Complex - Paradox

The Apollo 11 was a spaceflight that first allowed man to walk on the moon, a fact that has been disputed amongst conspiracy theorists virtually every day since. Chimpanzee Complex doesn’t question whether man made it there or not but instead poses to the reader that perhaps not everything that happened on the moon’s surface matches the history books.

Set in the not-too-distant future of 2035, an unknown object crashes into the Indian Ocean. The American military rushes to secure the item only to discover it is a fragment of Apollo 11 and contains two living beings claiming to be none other than Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Having just had her mission to Mars cancelled, Helen Freeman is summoned to try and discover the truth to this new situation. Who are these individuals, and who was it that came to Earth in the original landing? With nary a chance to check in on her wanting daughter (as the father’s since done a runner), Helen is off on a lunar mission to find out exactly what happened in 1969.

Chimpanzee Complex is a sci-fi that provides an intriguing mystery with very few clues as to its true nature. We don’t know if we’re headed for a scenario involving aliens, time-travel, parallel worlds or something else entirely. There’s a lot to think about as the plot thickens nicely throughout the volume with a rapid succession of twists that really set you up nicely for the next book. The added layer of Helen’s fractured relationship with her daughter is not immediately relevant to the proceedings, but I assume future volumes will see their relationship develop further.

The artwork is well-developed with a grim colour selection that depicts quite a bleak world despite using settings such as sunny Florida. Perspectives and ‘camera’ angles prove to be a real selling point with the backgrounds and spacecraft being particularly impressive. The characters themselves are highly realistic and softly toned, although personally I felt a few of the expressions looked a little stilted at key moments. It’s very much got an accomplished filmic that I hope it will grow even stronger as the series progresses.

For those curious to the book’s title, the only explanation we are given is about a psychological condition observed from chimpanzees being forcibly put through scientific testing. As with many of the features displayed in this volume, it could either be a clue or a complete misdirection. For now though the concept is interesting and event are leading into interesting areas. This promises to be a rewarding read.