Project Luna: 1947 graphic novel review

UFO invasion comic Project Luna: 1947 is out 1 July 2013 from Markosia

It’s 1947, and frost is beginning to form in the increasingly strained relationship between communist East and capitalist West. Fingers hover over buttons and walls are built as the great powers begin to regard each other with suspicion.

The Roswell crash changes all that, according to illustrator Jim Boswell and writer Martin Hayes’ 88-page original graphic novel Project Luna: 1947, as recognising the threat from beyond the stars from murderous insect men piloting flying saucers, Britain, France, the US and the USSR put together a four-man team to investigate the alien menace. Four distinct personalities from drastically opposing viewpoints, like a Cold War edition of Armageddon, the team are forced to work together to overcome the sabotage of their mission, and thwart the alien invasion of Earth.

There’s a hint of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s sublime Manhattan Projects in the compelling Fortean alternate history created, though the batshit third-eye stuff has been replaced with a sort of well-thumbed Commando comic grit as a boozy war veteran machine guns Martians in the face – lots of clear enthusiasm for the tropes of the war film, and of period detail that clothes a 1947 moon landing with a credible sense of ‘what if?’.

Short and sweet, there’s not a huge amount of character development going on in this slim, hardcover volume, not much of the scale a story of this world-altering scope truly deserves – easy to overlook with the minuscule budgets of most TV sci-fi, but less forgiveable with the near limitless resources of a comic-book to depict the impossible. Still, with a gorgeously pulp cover, propaganda poster pin-ups, and Boswell’s clean ‘let the action talk’ art style, it seems churlish to complain too much.

Given the semicolon in the title and the new status quo set up in the closing pages, how tantalising is the idea of future volumes following the same characters at different periods of a vastly altered Cold War?

Make it happen, gents – wiretapping and alien embassies in besieged Berlin, the USSR and the US pushed to the brink of a three-way conflict as Fidel Castro accepts rockets from an alien civilisation built on conquest… the possibilities are endless!