Writer & Artist: Ken Garing
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka – Optimous Douche, Ain’t It Cool)
The world loves a good Cinderella story and PLANETOID is comics’ own fairy tale. Ken Garing shared issue one with me many moons ago when he was self-hosting the file share trying to get someone…anyone to read his tale about spaceman Silas and his crash landing on…well…a PLANETOID. I reviewed the book and for a few months heard nothing. Then one day out of the clear blue I get another message from Ken asking me to review issue 2, now being published by none other than Image comics. It’s rare I get a good self-published book, it’s even rarer when I herald that book and it gets any notice beyond hard corps fans, it’s the rarest of circumstances when I review a book that gets major notice and increases in quality with each passing chapter. PLANETOID is that rare space rock that deserves every stroke of luck that’s been bestowed upon it.
First off Garing is the whole proprietor of this title – handling the FULL production. Normally artist/writers have a chink in their armor on one side of the house – not all, but most. Garing again is one of those wunderkinds who has it all. As we see this generational story unfold Garing handles all the quiet moments of our lone castaway with the same flair and intrigue as the grand sweeping moments on this futuristic mining colony time forgot.
When the series started I thought this would just be the tale of a stranger in a strange land – a spaceman from the civilized part of the galaxy trying to survive on the space equivalent of “Gilligan’s Island.” Garing did a greta job making Silas’ tech act as a secondary character, showing AI can be helpful, but it ain’t human. As the series progressed though, Garing expanded quickly past this original concept and used this desolate hunk of rock to uncover themes like oppression, freedom, and the folly of war thwarted by the fortitude of life.
It helped that Silas wasn’t alone aboard this space equivalent of Western Pennsylvania. When the war between the humanoids and the calamari faced alien with which we now battle moved to other parts of the galaxy, the slaves that were used for ore extraction were left behind. Also left behind was the machinery to keep those slaves a slavin’ away. After years, both evolved, and left Silas caught in the middle of the two fractions.
From lone wolf to savior is a true heroes’ journey and that’s what I’m left with at the close of PLANETOID. Yes the fights were spectacular with garish rusted-over mechanical monstrosities, yes the love Silas found for the inhabitants of PLANETOID and one in particular helped humanize those battles, yes the call to arms was stirring and the ultimate final battle to gain freedom was heart lifting, but in the end it’s Silas’ ultimate fate that left me awestruck.
The denouement was somewhat expected, but again Garing surprised by capping it off with the ultimate message of PLANETOID – the only thing that matter in the entirety of the universe is the perseverance of life.
This was a great series and I was honored to report on it even below the ground floor. If you’re a completest like me and missed the first few issues, the trade will be coming shortly. If you’ve been following all along and wondered where the book has been, I have it first-hand from Ken he apologizes profusely for the delays on this final issue. I implore everyone who loves comics to give Garing a shot, if not on PLANETOID than on his next venture, which I am assured is a BIG deal. So big, Ken can’t even mention it yet to anyone. I’ve been doing the review gig for five years now and when creators are lock lipped about their next gig, 99% of the time they are gagged by legalities. When lawyers and NDAs are involved, there is something special a brewin’.