Salvage vessel Cortes tracks the Lonely Orphan, a planet with no star system to call its own. Somewhere on this hostile rock is a payload fit for a king. To attain it, though, the crew of the Cortes must brave razor rock, poisonous vapors, treacherous footing, and… the most mind-numbing horrors imaginable. Struggling to stay alive, they are beset at every turn by horrors from their own nightmares. Now, they have discovered that they are not alone on the planet, and the other inhabitants welcome them… as sacrifices to an elder god.
Stranded on a vicious, murderous, seemingly intelligent planet, the crew of the Cortes must reevaluate what it truly means to survive, and what they are willing to do in order to spare their own lives.
Title: Rogue Planet | Writer: Cullen Bunn | Pencils: Andy MacDonald | Colours: Nick Filardi | Publisher: ONI Press | Pub. Date: 2nd March 2021 | Pages: 136 | ISBN: 9781620107089 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Starred Review: No | Source: Publisher
Rogue Planet Review
‘Rogue Planet’ is an original sci fi horror graphic novel from a trio of comic book creators who between them have worked on titles you’ll definitely have heard of. Writer Cullen Bunn has written for ‘Deadpool’ and ‘X-Men’ and created the popular horror comic ‘Harrow County’. Penciller Andy MacDonald has drawn ‘She-Hulk’, ‘Wolverine’ and ‘Dr Strange’. Colourist Nick Filardi has leant his inks to ‘The Umbrella Academy’ and ‘Nightwing’. A talented bunch then, and while ‘Rogue Plant’ doesn’t succeed on every level, I did have fun with it.
It’s split into 5 chapters and the first one felt like a full on, if affectionate, ‘Alien’ rip off. A diverse crew of straight talking spacefarers get woken from hypersleep to investigate a beacon transmitting from a mysterious planet. It almost felt too derivative at first, but it is entertainingly done, and fortunately chapter 2 takes a wild detour into cosmic horror. After that, things get weirder and more violent and everything chugs along pretty nicely to a conclusion that exceeded my expectations. To that point it felt like a fairly run of the mill Alien-a-like, but the ending was clever and different.
Throughout, Bunn does a good job of keeping things moving along. The characters and likeable and fun to read, there’s loads of aliens and monsters and lots of running around, shooting and shouting. There are also some nicely subtle ideas at times, like one of the crew members reflecting on the fact that his partner back on Earth also uses a suspended animation type device so that they don’t age at different rates.
For me, the real star of the show was the artwork though. The lines are clean and the colours really pop. Every panel has the kinetic energy this kind of story needs and the alien and creature design was spot on. At times it all has the vibe of a ‘Heavy Metal’ strip from the early 1980s, although without the sexy robots.
All in all, it’s an engaging, pacy read. Not a future classic, but fun and a fine way to spend an hour or two.
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