ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Rogue Planet’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Rogue Planet

Rogue Planet #2 is a sci-fi/horror comic published by Oni Press, written by Cullen Bunn and by Andy MacDonald. Colours provided by Nick Filardi and letters by Crank! Continuing on from where the first issue left off, the crew members of the Cortes find themselves faced by strange, motionless forms of their deceased crewmate and several other doomed voyagers that deigned to try and find the payload hidden within the planet. At the same time, one of the team members still on the Cortes meets an unfortunate fate.

Issue 2 of Rogue Planet is a lot slower than the opener, but the unbearable tension is still prevalent throughout the pages. Much of the plot centres around the crew struggling to understand the meaning of the lifeless but still unpredictable corpses standing before them. Their attempts to cross this particular obstacle rates the feeling that something horrible could happen at any moment, especially after the emergence of the monster last issue. Alongside this is the danger on their ship, their supposed safe haven. The attack on multiple fronts creates this feeling that there is nowhere safe within this entire planet. 

The split narratives between the different parties is helpful too as it allows the tension to be built within the main storyline, while establishing exposition and backstory in a separate location. The pages set within the Cortes still feels incredibly claustrophobic and nervous though, not becoming too bogged down by dialogue. And the reveal at the end looks to take the story in a direction I did not see coming.

While the plot within this issue is interesting, It doesn’t really feel like much is actually achieved or progressed during it. The events on the Cortes does accelerate the danger that the crew face, but much of the issue feels static. The group that are facing the bodies out on the surface of the world don’t even travel far, they just slowly make their way through this forest of flesh. It’s scary, but I would have preferred the horror to be ramped up even more. Instead, apart from the creepiness that emanates from the visuals, there isn’t actually much going on in those scenes.

The three characters on the ship are out of their suits, allowing them to be more unique in their design. MacDonald draws them fantastically, each one having features that are defining for their characters, influencing their personalities. And one of the more interesting pieces of character development is that it feels like this crew are at the end of their journey. Bunn reveals through his dialogue that the three characters are talking potentially leaving the Cortes. This made me think that the tight confines of that spaceship are claustrophobic and uncomfortable for the characters as well as the readers.

While the characters are nicely designed, Rogue Planet #2 still hasn’t attached me to any of them. This is only the second issue of this series, so it is unrealistic to suggest that the readers would fall in love with any single member of the crew. But I just don’t think any of them have shown enough for me to be particularly upset when they are killed off. And with the rate that they are being removed from this series, I believe that several of them will disappear from this book without anyone really caring that they’ve gone. On a similar tangent, Bunn’s dialogue could be better written at times to help the reader develop favourite characters. And it is still hard to tell the difference between the characters in the full suits at times.

Rogue Planet

Macdonald’s art again enriches the comic through his design of the world. Something about the use of varying line weights and sharp corners on the landscape and the characters affected by the planet makes everything feel unfriendly and potentially deadly. This is aided by the brilliant colours that Filardi covers this unwelcome world. When the flesh of whatever lives within this planet appears, it is tinged with an eerie, unnatural pink. The figures that face the exploration party have their heads encased by a lumpy, fleshy tendril that extends beyond the borders of the panels, and are incredibly unnerving to see. Even Crank!’s lettering is used to unsettle the reader. As mentioned before, you don’t ever feel at ease reading Rogue Planet #2

Rogue Planet #2 seamlessly maintains the terror that was generated in the premier issue. All of the creative team work together to create a beautiful but scary world that seems destined to cast nightmares into the minds of the characters and the readers. But while the world itself feels rich, several parts of this book seemed to harm the momentum of the story. The lack of movement within this particular issue and the large, still undeveloped cast does sadly create an empty feeling while reading. I am still waiting for what comes next though, as it feels like much more excitement is yet to come.

Rogue Planet #2 releases June 24th, and will be available where comics are sold.

Rogue Planet #2
3.5

TL;DR

Rogue Planet #2 seamlessly maintains the terror that was generated in the premier issue. All of the creative team work together to create a beautiful but scary world that seems destined to cast nightmares into the minds of the characters and the readers. But while the world itself feels rich, several parts of this book seemed to harm the momentum of the story.