Review: Venus #1

Venus is an interesting story that has a familiar construct of sci-fi space stories, but then uses them in interesting ways. That and its source material seems to be a little of everything making it difficult to say it’s this and this set on Venus. Though it has familiar elements I found it to be quite enjoyable. The issue starts with the President of the United States narrating. He’s talking about the mission to Venus to terraform the planet so that the human race might survive longer. This message of hope is accompanied by imagery of the Venus mission going to shit. Something has happened as the ship approaches Venus’ surface leaving the Captain with his last breath and last words, “Don’t let me down Commander.”

From there we see his second in command take charge and get the ship on the ground. That’s not the end of it though as they’ve landed off course from the base waiting for them. They’re also facing unstable ground and a nuclear core that is overheating and ready to melt through the hull which would collapse the ship. It’s basically a pick your death scenario and our new Captain makes the choice she feels gives them the best chance for survival.

Venus #1 Main Cover by W. Scott ForbesThe pacing for this issue is frantic and that’s completely appropriate. The characters don’t have a chance to breath and so neither does the reader. It really throws you in there with the characters. The danger, being so close to death and fast paced decision making that our new Cap has to make. She has her fair share of challenges beside the planet that’s trying to kill them. A lot of her crew are instantly questioning her decisions which adds to the tension.

Of course I’m not about to spoil the ending or even the decision the Captain makes, but I will say that the cliffhanger was one of the best I’ve read in the past year. It made me instantly want to read more, which really wasn’t a problem considering I enjoyed the rest of the issue.

What’s particularly interesting to me is just how plausible this all sounds. The plot points may be similar to other stories, but the execution and how real it’s kept here is what drew me in. Writer Rick Loverd is to thank for that since he also works for Science & Entertainment Exchange program. The characters are okay. It’s a first issue and with so much going on I don’t expect them to be fully realized. Right now they’re stereotypes and that’s okay. There is some attempt to give a few of them personality, but I’m holding out judgement until future issues. It’s not that they’re bad, but a few of them seemed too calm given the situation. I mean I was stressed reading the issue so I feel as if the characters should have had tense personalities. Cool under pressure is one thing, but “hey we might all die” should bring out a bit more personality.

Admittedly, I was reading an advanced copy so my comments on the artwork is limited to the line work. I have no idea about the coloring as of writing this, but the line work looks good. It’s clean and smooth and frankly very “spacey.” Even without the coloring the art drives the story. Especially the opening with the president’s narration and the ship crash landing. The contrasting themes play against each other quite well.

There’s been a lot of space exploration stories this year both from large publishers, small publisher and independent creators. Some have stood out, while others have been forgotten. So far, Venus looks to be a keeper. It would be really difficult for the second issue to be bad given where this issue ends, but we’ll see for sure. If anything, this was an enjoyable first issue that has caught my attention and kept me entertained.

Score: 4/5

Venus #1 Creators: Filip Sablik, Rick Loverd Writer: Rick Loverd Artist: Huang Danlan Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/23/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital