Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Planetoid #1

Writer: Ken Garing
Artist: Ken Garing
Company: Image Comics

Space: Ominous, harsh, foreboding, horrific, and huge. These are all words that accurately describe such a place, and more often than not, the movies and books and comics that use it as a setting. Planetoid does the genre of Sci-Fi justice. Not only that though, it puts forth a first issue that begs you further and further into the tale. It is seductive and layered, fun and uninhibited.

And let's not forget cool.

In the same vein as Prophet, Garing smacks us upside the cranium with a tale of survival in a harsh and new world. He plays with concepts that, for fans of Sci-Fi,
we know and love and can easily identify, but he isn't afraid to put his own spin on them. In that regard, the world building that is accomplished in these pages is some of the best that I've seen in awhile. The eerie sense of devastation that meets the scientific explanation of why the world is the way it is is extremely satisfying. As is the technology angle, with the things that our main character carries with him and uses.

Speaking of main characters, Silas seems to be the traditional badass. He is layered though and is flawed, which makes him pop in the role of our protagonist. One thing that can occasionally be distressing about single character driven books is just that, there's only one person. The inner monologue device can be a little annoying at times and feel like a crutch if used too often. Garing solves this problem cleverly with a computer system, in the same vein as Jarvis from the Iron Man movies or Worldmind from Nova, that Silas can converse with and utilize to stay alive. It isn't quite as full of life like that, but it's enough that the book doesn't feel too claustrophobic. He further changes that dynamic later in the issue with the introduction of a few other bits and characters.

Not to outdo himself with story, Garing is also the man behind the art as well. He's full service and the art that he's produced in this first issue is jaw dropping. It's very textural in appearance. The broken down buildings and fuselages of buildings and ships are detailed and but don't feel overwrought. There's an eye for flow and imagery as well. Everything on the page is skillfully placed and it allows the eye to move across it and be engrossed by it, but not to be distracted by it. The "Less is More" is a great skill to have and it seems that Garing has it in spades. His style reminds me a lot of Moritat's (All Star Western) in that way. Another thing that stands out is his approach to action. It's tight and tense and moves with believable speed. The splash pages and the other panels of various shapes and sizes serve the action so well. It's refreshing.

A lot is set up here and it seems that the paths that Planetoid is going to tread are varied, which will help keep interest up. If you're in the mood for some Survivalist Sci-Fi, I can think of no better comic on the shelves this week.

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