As someone who grew up watching the likes of Star Wars, I’m no stranger to a simple adventure romp through the galaxy where you can fire cool blasters against giant monsters, as long as it can be backed it up with some depth, whether from characters that we care about or an overarching message. Unfortunately, while Planet Paradise from Image Comics looks good, it doesn’t seem to have much to say.
When Eunice and her husband Peter travel through the cosmos for a vacation on the eponymous Planet Paradise, a malfunction causes their spaceship to crash on an alien planet. Separated from Peter, the only company that Eunice has on this hostile environment is the ship’s drug-addled captain and a bunch of killer lizards.
Having previously done the sci-fi one shot Hedra for Image Comics, writer/artist Jesse Lonergan’s next book is more ambitious with an original graphic novel that is essentially a survival story with two women working together to escape their ordeal. The majority of the narrative is told without dialogue through the visuals, but because you can read this at a very quick pace, you quickly realize the fundamental problem with this book.
Due to the minimalist approach towards Planet Paradise, there is not a great deal of backstory from the two protagonists. However, that is not the issue so much that there isn’t really a dynamic between Eunice and Captain Glenda. One has a broken leg and the other is active, and that’s about it. Apart from the epilogue, which conveys the comic’s loose message, the only substance is a sequence in which a rescue astronaut is watching a program on his ship as it flies to the hostile planet.
Having made a name for himself as an indie creator (who you can support on Patreon), Lonergan’s quirky sensibilities as an artist will please readers who are looking for a more chaotic style. Although I do have issues with his expressionless characters, he puts some appreciated effort into the weapons and the spaceships, though his skills really shine with the variety of panel layouts that are deliberately disorientated.
A better artist that he is a writer, Jesse Lonergan’s latest work would’ve been better off as a one-shot. As a long narrative, there isn’t much substance going on.
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