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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

In Review: The Chimpanzee Complex - The Sons Of Ares

Cinebook's The Chimpanzee Complex trilogy began with Paradox which was reviewed here and now continues with The Sons Of Ares.

Set in our Solar System in 2035, writer Richard Marazano and artist Jean-Michel Ponzio tell the story of an astronaut mother, Helen Freeman, who's mission of discovery makes her more and more remote from her 10 year old daughter Sofia.

As the second part of the ongoing story, it is difficult to say much about the plot without giving away too much, suffice to say that there was more happening in the Cold War space programmes of the 1960s and 1970s that was made public knowledge. This information took Freeman and her crew to the Moon in the first book and now takes them to Mars in the second in an attempt to discover what, if anything, really happened on the red planet some 50 years beforehand.

With their spaceship over Mars on the cover and with Ares (the Greek name of the god the Romans called Mars) in the title, it should not be too much of a spoiler that the action has moved away from the Earth and the Moon. The discoveries that the astronauts make on the Martian surface set the scene for the final part of the trilogy as writer Marazano moves the storyline somewhat into 2001: A Space Odyssey territory. Artist Ponzio's art is perhaps more obviously photographically based than in the first book but if anything this helps the reality of the near future hardware without becoming distracting.

The Sons Of Ares maintains Chimpanzee Complex's thoughtful, if perplexing, storyline and while it cannot be read alone it maintains the high quality of the first book and makes the third book a must buy when it is published later in the year.

Read our review of The Chimpanzee Complex: Paradox

• More details of The Chimpanzee Complex are available on the Cinebook website.

• More details of the original French editions are available, in French, on the Dargaud website.

• Cinebook will publish the third and last Chimpanzee Complex book, Civilisation, during the second half of 2010.

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