Hearing that a new comic has sold out is always exciting, and it is especially good when you have one of the copies. One look at the cover of Ken Garing’s new comic, Planetoid, will tell you why it flew off of the shelves. The especially hulking robot had me flipping the cover almost immediately, but something caught my eye: Garing wrote, illustrated and did the lettering for the book, and he nails every aspect of “Planetoid Issue” #1.
WRITTEN BY: Ken Garing
ART BY: Ken Garing
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: Out now
The visual impact of “Planetoid” is undeniable, and Garing’s approach to dialogue emphasizes this. Opening with a crash landing on an unknown planetoid, the first 4 pages of the comic only have 1 page of dialogue. This has the effect of throwing the reader head first into the striking semi-apocalyptic Terminator-esque landscape. Near the start is one of the best full page spread I’ve seen in a long time, and is reminiscent of the German Romantic painting, “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” by Friedrich; except in Garing’s case he has replaced a natural landscape with a devastated, heavy machinery graveyard. This one illustration alone makes the comic worthwhile.
Garing did an amazing job with the writing as well. He uses an “interactive analytical assistant” named Ricter, as a Siri-like voice activated narratorial device. Ricter’s speech serves the dual purpose of orienting both the main character, Silas, and the reader to this inhospitable world. Oftentimes comics have a way of forcing a back story on the reader in a way that does not mesh with what is being illustrated. In “Planetoid”, that is not the case. Ricter seamlessly fills in Silas about exactly how f*cked his situation is, as well presents the reader with an RPG like look into Silas’ inventory, through a visual interface. This was a unique approach to narration that is highly effective, as Silas’ assistant both talks and displays information to him. Garen also does not go overboard with this, making sure that Ricter is not omniscient, and does not talk incessantly. Ricter also isn’t necessarily street smart either, after he humorously lets Silas’ metallic tent get eaten by animals.
As Silas ventures deeper into the planetoid, Garen again hits the mute button on the dialogue, giving the comic a great atmosphere, as the reader is immersed in the desolated landscape and oppressive machinery. However, Silas isn’t on a leisurely hike, and he is up against some pretty twisted robots, one of which is the metallic equivalent of a worm from Dune.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue of Garen’s “Planetoid” and I suggest you try and get your grubby little hands on the first print issue, or the reprint which is due in stores the same day as “Planetoid” #2, at the beginning of July.
Reviewed by The_Sandman