Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 4/18/20
The fall of comics continues with the cancellation of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. There were also no new comics sent to stores this week, with most of the comic shops closed anyway. And more and more pro creators are being told to put down their pencils. But I’m not a professional (yet), so I’mma gonna see what I can find.
And it’s the first issue of Lost on Planet Earth, one of Comixology’s new original comics that debuted its first issue digitally this week! How nice!
Meanwhile, I just did a rewatch of the Watchmen TV show on HBO, and that was fun. I’m gonna start some of those free HBO shows next, like Barry. And I’m on the verge of beating Persona 5 the video game. So I’m keeping busy in self-quarantine. I hope the rest of you are doing well!
Still haven’t bought that Nintendo Switch though…
Comic Reviews: Lost on Planet Earth #1
Lost on Planet Earth #1
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Claudia Aguirre
Letterer: IBD’s Zakk Saam
I’ve enjoyed some of Visaggio’s comics in the past, though I’ll admit I haven’t read a lot of her work. And I’m always up for a good LGBTQ-focused comic. And this issue was free through Comixology with Amazon Prime. So it’s a good choice!
I hate to give full spoilers on an indie comic like this, but it’s important to my criticism and enjoyment. I’ll try to tone it down, though. Maybe only read the first few sentences of my synopsis if you don’t want to get spoiled.
The year is 2381 and Basil Miranda is determined to become the youngest ever captain in the Interplanetary Fleet. She’s spent the past several years of her life dedicating 110% to being perfect at everything so that she can pass tomorrow’s entrance exam with flying colors and be a great space captain. But on the day before the exam, she realizes what she’s missed in life and ends up panicking, fleeing out of the exam building. The next day is the first day of the rest of Basil’s life, and she meets a fun alien girl who will probably help her along.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
Lost on Planet Earth #1 is a good, strong set-up for this series with a likable and relatable main character and some solidly set-up supporting characters. Basil Miranda’s whole deal is easily laid out and very understandable. It’s easy to get behind her as the protagonist. And her family and friends are brought to life just as well. It’s all quality work. I also like the world-building we get. It makes sense, we get a showcase of how it all works, and it’s still grounded in what we already understand. There’s nothing esoteric or maddeningly vague. I’m cool with that. This issue does everything it needs to do to introduce us to this world and this story, with good writing and very good art. It’s an enjoyable read.
My problem with the issue is that I think it could have done a heck of a lot more to really hook the reader with the first issue. The story here is presented a little too plainly. It works as set-up, but I think the creative team could have added a lot more oomph to really make this first issue, and the story as a whole, stand out.
I’m going to get a bit more spoilery in the next section. So read at your own risk.
For example, the issue effortlessly establishes that Basil is obsessed with becoming a fleet captain, to the point of maximizing every aspect of her life to prepare for this upcoming test and career. It’s really good character set-up. But then there’s no inciting incident for how she realizes she’s wasted her life. She arrives home the day before the exam and randomly, seemingly out of the blue, asks her mom why she never made a career out of the Interplanetary Fleet. Her mom explains that she chose instead to focus on family and art, and she’s happy with that. This is apparently all it takes for Basil to have a complete change of heart on everything she’s dedicated her life to. And…really? She’s never asked her mom that question before? It’s never come up in conversation? And what prompted the question in the first place? The prior scene has Basil chatting with her best friend about her dreams, but the friend does not succeed in changing Basil’s mind in any noticeable way. So the entire issue/story hinges on Basil just randomly asking her mom this question and having her mom’s simple, obvious answer completely upend everything Basil has ever lived for.
I felt this was way too little to base the entire story on.
Then I felt the issue ended way too soon. Basil has a couple of pages of life beyond the exam and she…eats a muffin, falls in a puddle and meets a new friend. We’re told that there’s a whole, wide world of non-Fleet life that Basil is going to explore, but the issue cuts off before even giving us a taste. I would have liked a better hook. This competent and intelligent young woman, from a well-to-do family, is going to explore some other career options when she changes her mind about her first choice with seemingly zero repercussions.
I want more. And the creative team was clearly capable of providing more. I trust them to provide more in future issues.
But first issues could stand to have more oomph.
TL;DR: The creative team delivers a solid set-up for the new indie series, but fails to provide a strong hook to really grab the reader or make Lost on Planet Earth stand out.