Review by Ian Keogh
The plot driving most of Distant Worlds before here concerned the Clauden family travelling to a distant planet in order to meet John Clauden, who’d left earlier to find work, yet he’s nowhere to be found. They befriended an alien who’s helped them and that plot was resolved in Episode 4, which ended with Paul Clauden and the alien Step being sucked upwards by a giant tube.
As seen on the sample art, Leo rather cheats on what happens next, which is possibly better than one of his long interludes that’s not greatly relevant. A second sub-plot is equally rapidly wrapped up, with the new impetus being the information Paul must now pass on to the authorities to ensure humans can remain on Altair-3.
It’s a rare story by Leo that doesn’t have some form of ecological message, and he’s become less heavy-handed about them over his career, but he’s also relatively unique in having a broad optimism about the future in a back to nature kind of way. However, there’s always an awkwardness to his storytelling, which occurs here in some dialogue and having people turn up out of the blue at exactly the right moment. Commenting on that in-story and noting that a scene is sounding like a soap opera doesn’t excuse it happening in the first place.
While Icar puts a lot of effort into the art, he’s nowhere near the artist Leo himself is, and his figures are stiff with long faces. He’s far better when it comes to aliens, locations and technology.
Almost every cast member seen in earlier episodes is dragged out for a farewell appearance amid pages where Leo becomes so infatuated with his cast, he loses sight of the plot. Explanations are thrown in at length, amid much stilted dialogue, and the feeling is that Leo and Icar have come nowhere near to delivering the possibilities of the plot, very much not seeing the wood for the trees.