Too Much Tragedy in “Venus #1” (Review)

Venus-001-A-Main-96d6bVenus #1
BOOM! Studios

Written by: Rick Loverd
Art by: Huang Danlan
Color by: Marcio Menyz

I suspect that in 2016 we’re going to see quite a few stories of humans attempting to survive in space against all odds. Whether they will be deliberately attempting to ride the coattails of The Martian or are merely caught up in the broad cultural realization that this planet is effed and we’ve got to figure something out….I can’t say. But we’re going to see a lot of those stories.

I don’t know if Venus is one of those stories. I’m not exactly sure what Venus is trying to be.

Our tale opens in 2150, with the crew of the Mayflower preparing to become the first human explorers to land on a terraformed world, Venus. As we get a narration from the President describing the importance of the mission for the future of the United States, we can see that very little is going well on the Mayflower. Dead bodies are floating all over the ship and Pauline Manashe, the pilot, is barely managing to crash land the ship on Venus.

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Once our crew has crash landed we get more details on the calamity that struck them (before the crash landing, that is): an explosion on board the craft. We know little of the cause, but given that the title of this issue is “The Saboteur” and the narration from the President indicated a cold war with the “Pan Pacific Alliance” we can start taking guesses.Venus-001-PRESS-6-78567

This first issue mostly focuses on our three leads, pilot Pauline Manashe, Engineer Alejandra Reyes and Dr. Chad Park, attempting to get the surviving crew of the Mayflower from the crash site to Camp Augustine, their permanent base camp. These efforts are further compounded by the fact that they crash landed on a quickly crumbling cliff. And that their ship’s nuclear reactor is going into meltdown.

Even Mark Wattney didn’t have to deal with that kind of nonsense his first day on Mars. I mean, damn.

Oh, did I mention that when they do manage to get to Camp Augustine, it appears someone has blown its interior to smithereens?

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Also their doctor broke her leg.

Unfortunately this kind of “we’re @#%!ed, we’re sooooo @#%!ed!” escalation really weighs down the opening of the story.

We don’t even find out enough about our characters to really care about their survival. They’re all just sort of a mish-mash of traits: Sexy Botanist, Grumpy Engineer, Hard-assed Pilot who finds themselves in command. If I’m rooting for these characters at all, its because I’d like them to find some personalities.

While I wasn’t a particular fan of the story presented, I have to praise Huang Danlan’s art and Marcio Menyz’s color work. They do a fantastic job of establishing a the bleak and gruesome nature of the adventure that lays ahead for our heroes. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be joining them on that adventure, but maybe you should if you’ve absolutely got a craving for a harrowing story of space survival.

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