Paul Constant and Alan Robinson’s time traveling social commentary is back for a second issue and manages to cram even more content into its pages. Picking up directly from the conclusion to last month’s issue, the jocks find themselves in their own hell world of an LA comic con in 2019. The rise of nerd culture is far from the only thing that Constant wishes to comment on however as the three boys try to unpack what has happened to them. The first backup story sees Constant as a writer yet again with Randy Elliott delivering the artwork for Drew Johnson, a story about a young black man as he leaves high school for college. From there, readers have the short story ‘The Wait’ by Martyn Pedler and the poem ‘Love Story’ by Lisa R. Jonté, featuring illustrations by Dan Schoeneck and Lea H. Seidman respectively. AHOY are staying true to their content filled promise with this lineup.
With the first issue of Planet of the Nerds, Paul Constant showed a lot of promise with his premise. With fears of yet another ’80s nostalgia story lingering in the background, Constant has shown with this issue that he has no intention of glorifying the past decade. Additionally, he has a number of criticisms of our contemporary times too. The subtle ways in which the police are depicted here offers a nice comment on policing in America. Likewise when the characters comment on inflation from the ’80s it gives readers a new lens in which to view our economy with.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. One of the main jocks constantly speaks with homophobic rhetoric, something all too common in the ’80s. By putting this character in our current time it shows readers just how far we have progressed even at times when our police “look like soldiers” or gas station snacks cost “$60.” Throughout reading it’s clear that Constant has concise messages that he would like to get across, and as absurd as “jocks from the 80s frozen until 2019” is as a premise, it is working perfectly to convey those messages.
Continuing with this success the Drew Johnson story “Testing Week” offers a commentary on the American education system in relation to black students. While Randy Elliott’s artwork is at time a little cartoonish for the tone of the piece, the story itself leaves readers with something to think about long after they’ve finished the short story.
The backups offer a nice variety as is always the case with AHOY comics. Lisa R. Jonté’s poem especially stands out for being distinct.
There’s not a lot to criticize with this. The variety is fantastic and each piece stands well on its own. If one were to go over the comic with a comical magnifying glass then perhaps they would find that “The Wait” doesn’t quite stand up to the quality of the rest of the book. However, having a 7/10 contribution in a book full of 9s is hardly something to complain about.
Planet of the Nerds is showing great promise thanks to the writing of Paul Constant. Along with his backup piece, this is a great book to pick up regardless of interests. For those that like a good social commentary, this will be the book for you.