Yoko, Vic and Pol have been in a two-month-long hibernation as they make the vast journey of two million light years to the planet Vinea, guided by their Vinean friend Khany. Having been to Vinea before the friends are aware that the plant life is all but extinct on the planet, and yet a strange plant has been discovered that the Vineans acknowledge is not of their world. What’s more further artefacts, including a robotic hand and a giant insect leg reinforced by technology, suggest that there’s another sentient species on Vinea, and they want Yoko and her friends to assist them in a scientific survey.
But the investigation soon turns sour after they arrive in a flooded region shrouded by mist. Yoko and Khany use a small two-person craft to go off and explore, but when they return to their floating camp everyone is missing and the camp has been destroyed. In a frantic search they come across a gigantic intelligent insect which is swiftly involved in a fierce grapple with a humungous centipede-like creature. Realising the titanic being is exhausted, Yoko steps in to help, securing a mutual rescue and a ride to the insect-being’s home, where the real trouble begins.
This is a remarkable story in that it approaches the subjects of immigration and alien life from the perspective of another world, where humans are but the observers. We’re invited to see the points of view of three different sides, and whereas most alien invasion tales are of brutal tyranny and destruction with easily identified good guys and bad guys, this story isn’t so clean cut. It’s also infused, throughout, with a scientific undercurrent, so events are analysed, ideas are formulated and explored, and larger, complicated scientific concepts are tackled in a manageable way, segued in amongst the adventure and discovery.
In recent years there’s been a tremendous surge in the number of girls and women reading comics, largely down to bigger publishers playing catch up with the smaller players, limited though it was. So it’s interesting that this science-fiction adventure, now being printed in English, was conceived decades ago, featuring an inspirational female lead character that mirrors so much of what contemporary writers and artists are attempting to achieve. It’s accessible, it’s readable and it’s enjoyable, and just right for kids looking for something a little more challenging than a humour-based comic.
And if you liked that: Get more Yoko Tsuno from www.cinebook.com