I. Love. This. Series.
A man awakes face-down on a rocky platform in what appears to be an alien desert. He has no idea where he is, how he got there, or even what his name is. All he remembers is a feeling of intense sadness, and the face of a little girl; but nothing else. And then the talking robotic ape shows up…..
Aama is a four volume graphic novel (or bandes dessinne, to give it its proper title) series by euro-comics creator Frederick Peeters. Told – in the first three volumes, anyway – in a series of flashbacks (and even flashbacks within flashbacks), the story charts the journey of one Verlock Nim as he attempts to re-discover how he ended up on the desert planet of Ona (Ji) with only the android anthropoid Churchill for company; through the medium of a journal that he cannot even remember writing. The planet was the site of a bold experiment in simulated evolution (the ‘Aama’ of the title), but due to a huge economic / social crisis back on the planet Radiant, the experiment – and those in charge of it – were abandoned on Ona (Ji) for five years before the company responsible for the project managed to send a ‘rescue mission’ (or, in bureaucrat speak, recover the canisters in which Aama is contained, and salvage their investment). However, the experiment has already been unleashed, and the planet has undergone a startling transformation….
I’ve always been a fan of what I call ‘alien ecosystem stories’, and Aama more than delivers. Aside from the fantastic, twisty-turny story and the well-written characters, the result of Aama’s machinations have created a visual feast of wired plants, animals, mutated robots and all manner of other surreal lifeforms – it really is an ALIEN ecosystem. There’s no ‘stick an extra pair of legs on a dog, and give it horns’ stuff going on here, no no – the biota of Ona (Ji) is both biologically-imaginative and tripped out weird. The laudatory quote on the back cover of one volume describe Aama as ‘Prometheus as re-imagined by Hayao Miyazaki’….. Yep, that about sums it up. Except this is a GOOD version of prometheus. If you want to see more, head to: