Venus #1 (of 4)
Written by Rick Loverd (@rickloverd)
Illustrated by Huang Danlan (@huangdanlan)
Colors by Marcio Menyz
Letters by Colin Bell (@colinbell)
Review by Joey Braccino
“Tomorrow, May 15th, 2150, is a day humanity will forever remember.”
Part One: The Saboteur
Captain Kincaid delivers his best Neil Armstrong speech as his ship—the first colonizing mission to Venus—plummets perilously toward the planet surface. The pre-recorded inspirational message provides exposition for why this mission is so vital (the Pan Pacific Alliance has already claimed Mars; America needs a win in this new celestial cold war), but the real mystery promised in the chapter title of Venus #1 is never really answered. Instead, Rick Loverd and Huang Danlan drop us in media res into the harrowing crash-landing and its aftermath, as the hapless crew struggles to survive.
The stakes are high from the outset, and Loverd expertly crafts his characters through the power vacuum left by Kincaid’s (gruesome) demise at the beginning of the issue. The plot of the first issue is simple: civilian pilot Pauline Manashe faces down military lieutenant Alejandra Reyes for both authority over the mission and course of action. With a potentially damaged nuclear reactor and tumultuous Venusian atmosphere, Manashe wants to take the surviving team members outside of the ship and head for the pre-established Augustine compound. Reyes, concerned that the Augustine compound may also be compromised and that traveling outside of the ship (aptly named the Mayflower, btw) could recklessly endanger the entire crew, asserts herself as the military voice on the crew. Loverd structures the entire issue around these two and, in its simplicity and nuance, Venus #1 manages to balance its hard science-fiction elements with this deeply personal conflict. Add a compelling cliffhanger and you’ve got the makings of a great first issue for what should be an engaging mini-series from BOOM!
Huang Danlan and Marcio Menyz provide some stunning visuals in Venus #1. Set in 2150, it would be easy to go wild with speculative design, but Danlan instead grounds the aesthetics of Venus in reality. Fans of modern sci-fi films like The Martian will recognize the just-a-bit-ahead futurism in Venus. Design aside, Danlan’s artwork also has a dynamic quality necessary to producing the level of tension and terror in the initial crash and its aftermath. Menyz colors Venus in stark oranges and reds, countering the reader’s expectations while furthering the desolation of the Mayflower team. Really engaging visuals here.
Worth a look, especially for fans of modern sci-fi films like Sunshine and Europa Report. Rick Loverd and Company deliver a compelling first issue in Venus #1, and the chapter title of “The Saboteur” suggests a much more complex story going forward. Check it!