I will say this right off the bat, Planetoid is a great fucking mini-series!
There was a boom of science fiction stories in mainstream comics after the success of Image Comics‘s Saga and Prophet series, and it was difficult to find a story which could hold my attention. Luckily, I discovered this gem of a series by Ken Garing and was immediately drawn in by his strong storytelling, not to mention awesome freaking artwork.
Silas, an ex-soldier turned space pirate, crash lands on a strange planet in hostile alien territory. It is a long-abandoned industrial world filled with towering twisted metal and steel; derelict and foreboding with no sign of intelligent life at first. With the aid of Ricter; his interactive analytic assistant, he explores his new surroundings.
Pretty soon he encounters a mechanical monstrosity rising up from the waters. Suffering blood loss he is rescued by an old man called Mendel, from whom he learns more about the planet.
The planet has a strong electromagnetic pull and seems to attract anything that is close to it, which explains his crash. He also learn that there is a settlement of humans and aliens on a place called ‘the slab’, but all is not plain sailing as the planet is inhabited by a cyborg militia called ‘the Rovers’, who are controlled by a tyrannical alien goverment called the Ono Mao.
Silas soon sets off for the human encampment, but encounters a red haired woman called Onica, who views him with suspicion.
However, after saving a tribe of humans from the Rovers, he finds himself becoming the reluctant leader of the group.
There are various factions within the settlement which he has to unite, and soon, thanks to his leadership he pioneers a semblance of order, through security and food.
Speaking of food, just check out of these amazing panels of reptilian egg and worm omelette being prepared; it’s mouth-watering to say the least!
A strong bond develops between Silas and Onica (which eventually results in a bit of frisky coitus!), and other members of the group especially the hermit like Nkuda and his trusted lizard sidekick, Koma.
However, peace is short lived as General Boa, the leader of the Ono Mao wants to eliminate or assimilate them all. His anger probably stems from the fact that his face resembles a giant turd!
Silas is captured by the irritable General after being ambushed by a mechanical fiend who pummels his friends to bits.
I mean, just check out this bloody panel right here. Violence never looked so beautiful!
General Boa however, may have underestimated this rag tag team of humans and aliens, and especially Silas, as a revolution starts brewing on the planet.
Ken Garing’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous, the junk steel and metal filled landscape of the planet; metal never looked so sexy like this before! It reminded me of Aliens and Alien 3 in particular and the prison planet of Fiorina 161.
His characters are also memorable and well written, key being Onica and Silas not to mention Nkuda and his lizard friend. I also took a liking for the old man Mendel who reminded me of a mystical type figure, aiding our protagonist in key junctures of the story.
This trade collects issue 1 to 5 of the mini-series, however, there is a 6 issue sequel called Praxis which is currently ongoing. That too, is shaping up pretty nicely and I will review it at a later date.
As for this collection, it is a must read for all science fiction fans, especially those who have a love of European comics, as Planetoid could quite easily nestle inside the pages of 2000AD (albeit with the swearing toned down!) and Heavy Metal (in all its glory).