Advance Review: Planetoid #1

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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.

Planetoid is written, lettered, and drawn by Ken Garing. The only other hands on this book is Drew Gill who did the design and logo. You don’t see a lot of writers or artist who do it all on a book.  If someone were contemplating it, I would suggest they read Planetoid #1 as an example on how to do it the right way.

The story opens with our main character Silas being pulled into an unidentified planet’s atmosphere. He is being pulled in because electromagnetic radiation is interfering with his ships controls. You have the inevitable crash landing of course. We get a look at the planet after Silas lands, and it appears to be an intergalactic junkyard. The planet looks stunning. You start out with just junk heaps, but as Silas explores further you see the world that is created by all the debris. You even get a look at some of the inhabitants of the world. Not a lot is said in the first half of the book. Silas talks to a program in his spacesuit to run diagnostics for the most part. The lack of dialogue for several panels works well. You have wordless panels of only beautifully drawn and constructed planet exploration. It is very effective way of telling the story in this case.

You can probably figure out that Silas isn’t completely alone on the planet, and this is where we get most of our exposition. We learn some of Silas’ backstory as well as a little about the planet on which he finds himself. This is setting up what appears to be an epic tale of man vs. machine as well as some other yet unseen forces.  The backstory for Silas as well as the planet is very sci-fi and familiar but seems to be going in a fresh and new direction. This is a very well done introduction issue. We learn all we need to for now in an entertaining way. Many comics use the first issue as an information dump with little action so they can get the pieces in place for further issues, but Planetoid is entertaining with the inevitable info dump saved for the final pages in a nicely crafted scene.

Bottom Line: Image has had a lot of great new books coming out over the last little while, and this just adds to that list. Planetoid #1 has shaped a nice sci-fi space story that stands out from the rest. Silas is a very interesting character who has seemingly only told us half of his story. Garing has done a brilliant job on both the story and art front. If he can keep this level up in further issues, he has a great book on his hands. I’m looking forward to the next part of Planetoid and seeing how Silas develops. What will he do now that he has found himself on this planetoid? I give Planetoid #1 a score of 4/5.

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