Ordinary World : Leo – “Aldebaran”

ABOVE: Hard Water

At some futuristic point we escape this planet and settle in Aldebaran, according to Leo, the pseudonym of writer/ artist Luiz Eduardo de Oliveira. “Aldebaran,” a five-volume series, is presented in the classic Franco-Belgian format (50-page-or-so albums), and is one of the most celebrated science-fiction sagas in its country. I don’t necessarily join in the applause. The story is exceedingly schematic: a group of good-looking adventurers travel aimlessly across a strange planet that looks an awful lot like any Third World country, from the exuberant vegetation to the corrupt, press-strangling theocracy.

Leo’s writing is dull and  exposition-heavy; I’m not sure how much of that can be attributed to the translation.  The artwork is better: his world is very well-conceived, except it looks more like Bahia than outer space. Leo’s style reminds me of the late Steve Dillon‘s  in “Preacher,” but it’s much stiffer: his faces sometimes convey emotions that are at accidental odds with the content of his dialogue. One place where truly Leo excels is in the flora and fauna of Aldebaran, which never ceases to amaze and is the one thing to recommend here. His strange creatures have simple designs but are always awe-inspiring, because he parcels them out instead of over-populating the planet with them. There are sequels, “Betelgeuse” and “Antares,” but I don’t necessarily feel like rushing t0 them at the moment.

ABOVE: “I will name you ‘Stripey'”

RATING : GOOD ENOUGH

P. S.: Leo, who is Brazilian, nods to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave” as the sort of lasting musical piece that will move people to nostalgic Earthling tears once we’ve migrated to Aldebaran. Not “Girl from Ipanema”?

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