Have you ever played Earthworm Jim for Sega Genesis? If you have, you probably recognize this level. That discarded tech-junk world is essentially the setting for Ken Garing’s Planetoid. A mechanical graveyard planet with a dark past, and oozing with mysterious environmental qualities.
The story follows a space smuggler named Silas, immediately after he makes a few choice career moves that end in a close call. After fleeing from the scene of his most recent heist, he crashes on our mystery machine planet (known as a Planetoid) where he’s faced with hostilities left right and centre.
The artwork is fantastic, though it’s hard not to liken it with Image Comics‘ recently relaunched title Prophet. In fact, the writing styles are almost parallel to each other too, though both deliver clearly unique reading experiences. You’ll likely take to Planetoid if you enjoy the art and storytelling of Prophet. Even the inventory dissection is visually similar, retaining a comfortable familiarity that works well (and looks damn good too).
Having to draw machine worlds and planets is usually either extra tedious or incredibly enjoyable. But one thing is for sure: done right, its always rewarding. You’ll see a lot of atmospheric shots in Planetoid that set the stage for the theme of the book, and there are a few very interesting creatures as well. The machine fauna and flora, if you will, is executed well.
The narrative is almost strictly visual. This means there’s a little less dialogue than the other books out there, which is nice for a change. Because without silence, there can be no excessive loudness. Planetoid is a great balance of action, subject-to-subject panels, and character involvement. That can be hard to pull off.
The only areas for improvement would involve the pacing. Silas‘ history was interesting, but could almost be told with more depth and length. The history of the planet is divulged in over a page and a half. This book would make a fantastic mystery read if less information were to be presented, but we are only in issue one. There’s lots of time to grow here.
I’ll certainly be picking up issue two next month. Here’s a preview from Ken Garing’s blog.