Starship Down #1 – Justin Giampaoli, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov & Sal Cipriano (Dark Horse)

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It seems that watching fourteen series of Ancient Aliens wasn’t a big old waste of time after all, as Justin Giampaoli found inspiration in the same pulp science fiction sources and pseudo historical “facts” for Starship Down as Giorgio Tsoukalos did for his aforementioned show. While the idea that extra-terrestrials, entities from other dimensions and time travellers visited Earth during pre-history isn’t exactly new, it’s a sub-genre of science fiction that I’m drawn to like a moth to a flame. 

The notion that we, as a species, given the vastness of the Universe, matter enough that someone, or something, else is inclined to take an interest in our development is, to me at least, both invigorating and endlessly fascinating.  And the impact that those visits might have had on our evolution and its course offer nearly unlimited story-telling opportunities and possibilities – which probably explains why my bookshelves are crammed with titles devoted to exploring the impact and effects of pre-historic first contact.     

Starship Down hits the ground running from the word go and ticks allthe relevant subject related boxes. Inexplicable discovery made in an incredibly remote location? Check. Said discovery being co-opted by a joint military and civilian taskforce that keeps everything on a need to know basis? Check. Plucky scientist who is obviously going to throw the whole thing into disarray with a world shattering discovery? Check.  A papal representative overflowing with disdain who dismisses any concepts that challenge his faith and belief system, trigger happy Russians, Neanderthals and a spaceship? Check, check, check and check.

Starship Down incorporates each and every one of these stereotypes into it’s plot while still maintaining a furious originality that’s kicked into hyper-drive by eye popping, sumptuously detailed artwork. In fact, so far, there’s nothing that I don’t love about this book and if it keeps on hitting all of the science fiction conspiracy thriller sweet spots in the same way that this opening chapter has, then Starship Down could easily become one of this years’ sleeper hits and a bone fide cult classic. Kevin McCarthy was right. They’re already here…    Tim Cundle

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