Review - Venus #1 (@boomstudios)

"Tomorrow, May 15th, 2150, is a day humanity will forever remember."

When humanity decides to completely wreck the planet, we'll need to find somewhere else to inhabit. It'll be a true space race at that point, with superpowers fighting to claim whatever corner of the galaxy they can for themselves. What we find on the other side remains to be seen, but BOOM! Studios has a pretty good idea in Venus #1. The issue is written by Rick Loverd, illustrated by Huang Danlan, colored by Marcio Menyz and lettered by Colin Bell.

In 2150, Earth’s resources are depleted, and countries race to outer space to mine what they need from other planets. China has laid claim to Mars, so the U.S. and its allies have to make do with getting what it needs from the inhospitable world of Venus. But for a group of Americans making its way there, survival has become all too real. After their ship crash-lands on the planet, the scrappy crew is forced to do whatever it takes to navigate the harsh landscape in their journey to find the science base they were flying toward. In the vein of great adventure survival stories like Lost and The Martian, there’s only one reality on Venus—adapt or die.

The beauty of a space story is the inherent frenetic energy that accompanies exploring new worlds. Loverd uses that pacing to his advantage in Venus #1, presenting a cast of characters struggling to make the best of a very bad situation. Inhabiting this situation are pretty stock science fiction characters, most of whom Loverd doesn't really spend enough time with to give the reader any sense of what makes them tick. The new captain is the most realized, but that's primarily because Loverd has her barking orders to a shellshocked crew for the duration of the issue. Her decision-making is directly responsible for the direction of the series, courtesy of a fairly bold gambit on her part.

Danlan's artwork feels clean for the most part, but there are moments where it comes across as a little smudgy. There's a relative lack of detail in their appearances and their uniforms are relatively simple when compared to what would could be expected from a space tale. There are some panels where the backgrounds feel fuller and the reader gets the full gist of the wreckage of the ship. Much of the issue follows a pretty standard grid layout that makes the story easy to follow, although there are parts where insets and overlays break up the look. The colors by Menyz are dull, but effective at portraying the weathered aspects of the ship and the planet itself.

Venus #1 is an interesting first issue that features a lot of rash decisions and a pretty perilous predicament for the characters. Despite that, the characters somehow manage to find a glimmer of hope to cling to. Loverd explores the concept of stranded astronauts fighting for survival and gives the reader plenty to peak their interest. Danlan's artwork is pretty simplistic and vague in a way that feels amorphous in many regards. Venus #1 will definitely appeal to fans of the science-fiction genre and want to see characters struggling with outlandish odds.

Venus #1 is in stores now.