Planetoid 1 by Ken Garing
Publisher: Image Comics
“Silas, an ex-soldier turned space pirate, finds himself stranded on a mysterious planet in alien territory. As he explores the long-abandoned industrial ruins of the planet’s surface he will have to fend off rogue mechanical creatures, roving cyborg militias, and a hostile alien military with a bounty on his head. Silas will have to rely on resourcefulness and bare-bones survival tactics in order to stay alive and ultimately unlock the secrets of a planet where survival is a luxury and escape an impossibility.” –from the comic
I agree with other critics who point out that we’re having some kind of renaissance of science fiction in comics, in particular with Image Comics. Our one Prime Directive here is that we don’t review books by the Big Two such as Marvel and DC, although I have been given some leeway with the Before Watchmen books. It’s not unlike reviewing television shows and being told you can’t review anything put out by the Big 3 networks but you can review those “indy” television shows put out by FX, Fox, AMC, HBO and Showtime. By the way, if you don’t watch television “Sons of Anarchy” and “Game of Thrones” are better than anything put out by the Big Three. Same here.
And so it goes that “Planetoid 1″ looks to be yet another well thought out and gritty science fiction tale. If there’s a problem I suppose its that you find yourself comparing it to Prophet, which is one of the better science fiction comics that I’ve ever read. Our premise, as explained above, is pretty much how its explained except our hero does have an interesting background. It looks like he joined up with the space patrol for the same reason that poor people volunteer for the military here in the United States: It’s The Only Way Out.
Same as it ever was I guess. One of the interesting things about this era of Interstellar war between humans and a species called the “Ono Mao” is that I can’t really tell who the bad guys are. These are just bad people fighting each other. The Earth Empire, just like in Prophet, seems to be quite evil and so do the Aliens they’re fighting against. Both use slave labor, both use people as commodities. It’s like the Bad Old Klingons versus the Cardassians. I guess I pick humanity because they’re the home team but I’m not entirely sure we’re the Nice Ones.
But its very well thought out. Here’s another scene where you see someone has put some thought into their science fiction.
He puts on that helmut because the air is full of airborne and probably toxic metals. That guy on the bottom right hand corner is his onboard computer. I can’t tell if the computer is something that’s inside his head or something that he’s wearing (Update: I looked more closely and its in his armor). His on board AI is called “Richter”. He looks like a very cool helper. Just like in Prophet we have the mandatory scene that displays the tech. At first this looked like a very cool original thing that was happening in comics. Now I realize this might be something you see in every moderately advanced video game ever made. The difference between this and Prophet is that the tech isn’t quite as way out. I think this would be what I would take to the planet’s surface as well.
Overall, a technically solid and decent read. It would be outstanding if not for the other science fiction comics I was reading by both Image and Vertigo. I’m beginning to take this level of excellence for granted. Still, 3.8 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the next issue.