Review by Ian Keogh
Leo Roa dreams of daring deeds as a combination of adventurous reporter and space hero, but his actual job is as a computer archivist, at which he’s not greatly competent. For reasons plausibly explained, though, his life is suddenly endangered as part of a sabotage attack simultaneously affecting several planets in an attempt to destroy archived information.
Although the spectacularly detailed art looks very similar to the straight science-fiction illustrated by Juan Giménez, The True Tales of Leo Roa is, in fact, his comedy outing. Fueled by his fantasies, Leo believes he can isolate the information terrorists were attempting to erase, if only he could remember the pass code to the portable databank. His methods may be fallible and unconventional, but there’s a tenacity to Leo, and while warned about the imminent danger to his life, he’s ignorant about the attempts he’s accidentally avoided. He’s doing just fine until his luck runs out.
Appearances sometimes to the contrary, The True Tales of Leo Roa is cleverly constructed for the reader never being sure for most of the book whether the entire adventure is another of Leo’s fantasies or his real experiences. There are plenty of suggestions edging toward the first, not least the massive boost to Leo’s sex life, but then the stumbling suggests the latter. What the plot amounts to is an incredibly successful space pirate seeking to erase all traces of his previous identity, Drake being a gloriously monologuing egomaniac now largely constructed from mechanical spare parts.
Will Leo bumble through? One suspects most buyers are here for Giménez’s astonishing art, and as there are spacecraft drawn in minute detail and naked, big-breasted women, anything beyond is merely a bonus.
The True Tales of Leo Roa is also available in an oversized addition to better appreciate the art, and is confusingly named slightly differently as The True Tale of Leo Roa in the English digital edition. It’s combined with sequel An Odyssey Back in Time as The Starr Conspiracy, which is turn combined with The Fourth Power in The Deluxe Giménez.