Taking the first comic adaptation of Space 1999–published by Charlton Comics in the seventies–Andrew E.C. Gaska mines for detail and finds enough to fill 168 pages in such a way that it demands a high level of participation from its readers.
The first part of Space 1999 : Aftershock and Awe is like a fan cut of the show’s original pilot episode, “Breakaway,” in which we see how the astronauts of Moonbase Alpha are set adrift. Commander John Koenig arrives from Earth in the middle of an investigation. Crew members are dying of a strange sickness, which is found to be the result of nuclear waste overflow causing intense magnetic radiation. As the Moonbase strives to reduce the threat of the nuclear waste disposal facility, it detonates. The explosion rocks the Moon and jettisons it from Earth’s orbit to be attached to a wandering planet called Meta. Meta has an earth-like climate and atmosphere despite having an extremely long parabolic orbit around the Sun. When it seems like rescue or escape from their situation is impossible, Koenig decides that they must go to Meta to find their future.
Gaska’s back half, the “Aftershock,” in which he shows the holocaust wreaked by the moon’s departure, is an amazing and unexpected climax. In the alternate history of Aftershock, JFK lives, but a third world war decimates humanity. Just as the revivified space program has colonized the moon, mankind suffers another setback as an ambitious admiral’s political machinations and hoarding of munitions on the Moon backfire. This leads to the Moon’s spinning around the rogue planet Meta. Void of its satellite, the Earth undergoes drastic climatic changes, and we get to see earthquakes, falling satellites, tidal waves, and flesh-eating octopi grind the human race down to half their size. To amp up this ecopolitical drama, his story verges with the eschatological as verses from the book of Revelation are overlaid over the pages that illustrate the climate change which results from the moon’s ejection from the Earth’s orbit. Only mute speculation in the TV series, the entire “Aftershock” is a welcome addition to the Space 1999 story.
Coupled with the brooding, atmospheric art of Gray Morrow, Miki and David Hueso, this is an enthralling book with amazing productive values. Like all Archaia books, this one is a labor of such passionate professionalism you could only call it love, love for books, which inspired these color choices and the cover and page quality. You can find Space 1999 : Aftershock and Awe here on their website. It is available from your local comic shop, as well as still available on Amazon, and always in digital at comiXology here.