Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Rick Loverd
Artist: Huang Danlan, Marcio Menyz (Colours)
Release Date: 23rd March 2016
Set in 2150, VENUS revolves around an American crew’s attempt to colonise the inhospitable titular planet – after China has claimed Mars – due to the depletion of natural resources on Earth.
Each issue of this four-part series has a section at the end, written by scientific professionals, that discusses the properties of the planet Venus, the potential for space exploration and colonisation on this planet and further, and how the comic fuses fictional entertainment with reality and current technology to project the story onto the page. In doing so, the series raises important questions about scientific advancement – both on our planet and beyond – in regards to man’s historical need to colonise and claim, climate change and the sustainability of natural resources, and the monopolising power of capitalism.
Writer Rick Loverd fuses these themes into the plot through the realistic personification of the characters and extensive, accurate scientific detail in relation to the technology and terrain. This is also the case with Huang Danlan’s artwork; his simple, clean lines suggest a sterile environment, which lends itself to the tense hierarchical relationships of the characters. His detailed futuristic imagery is clearly informed by the creators’ substantial research and his rendering of the worldscape of Venus is enhanced by Marcio Menyz’s light, block colours in a yellow / orange palette that corresponds to the planet’s atmosphere.
The destruction of Earth in an earlier issue lends a solitary and survivalist bent to the series, as several colonies – some of which are stranded in inhospitable environments and running on temporary resources – react to this loss and attempt to adapt. Comparisons must be drawn between the comic, with its themes of colonisation and corporate greed, and a strong female protagonist as the leader of the mission, and the ‘Alien’ film franchise.
As this is a four-part series, the final cliffhanger – the second literal one of the series – pales in comparison to the reveal that Earth is no more at the end of the second issue. The somewhat open ending means that the series – with all of its potential – could easily act as an introduction to, and be subsumed into, a larger storyline with several narrative threads concerning the key characters, all of whom are unfortunately never really explored. However, it is well worth a trip to Venus – even with its searing temperatures, severe pressure and clouds of sulphuric acid.
If you want to find out more about VENUS, make sure to check out our interview with Rick Loverd and Filip Sablik by CLICKING HERE.
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The writer of this piece was: Rebecca Booth
Rebecca Tweets from @rebeccalbooth