ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Rogue Planet,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Rogue Planet #5 cover

Rogue Planet #5 is the final issue of the Oni Press published miniseries. Written by Cullen Bunn with art by Andy MacDonald. The colours are provided by Nick FIlardi and the letterer is Crank! 

The Cortes is gone. A burning hunk of metal. Nearly the entire crew is dead. All that is left of the treasure-hunting crew, Ginny and a badly injured Alex, is stuck on a planet ruled by a creature that hunts by fear. With nowhere else to go, the two remaining survivors enter another ship that landed on the planet where the secrets of the monster will be revealed. 

The plot wraps up in a way I absolutely wasn’t expecting. The history of the planet has been told and retold through the carvings left on the walls by the native race that resides on the planet and who have been menaced by this creature for generations. The ending is cyclical in its nature, making this miniseries feel complete. 

The pace of the issue moves faster than some of its predecessors and that feeling of dread that has hummed through the duration of the series continues before becoming a cacophony of horror. There has been a feeling of hopelessness on every page of every issue, and that hasn’t lifted as the comic winds down, but there is at least a feeling that the planet has changed.

Throughout my review of the series, I have been critical of the characters. For many of the issues, they were in their spacesuits and hard to identify. And while the dialogue has been well scripted by Bunn, I’ve never found myself identifying with or getting attached to any of them. And if I did, they would be killed soon anyway.

Ginny and Alex are the last of the group remaining alive, yet I still don’t think I knew enough about them. However, it was in Rogue Planet #5 that I realized that these two aren’t the main characters of the story. None of the Cortes crew were. The planet is the main character. This ugly, deadly planet is the core of this comic, as well as the race of aliens that have been forced to live there and been tormented by it. If you consider this planet a character, then it has the most depth out of all of them.

The art in the final issue is as gorgeously horrific as it has always been. There is a lot more of the pink, Lovecraftian-esque monster, and no matter how much of it I’ve seen, it still makes my skin crawl. MacDonald’s detail is remarkable and the writhing mass of pink tentacles and eyes and suction pads manages to be even more terrifying when it is following Ginny and Alex through the small corridors of a ship. The last act is a masterclass in instilling fear into the audience. 

Rogue Planet #5

MacDonald’s character design should also be commended. Multiple races of alien are in this issue, and each one is given unique details down to scars or particular marks on their body. This is still true even when they’re being fused grotesquely to the purple tendrils. All of their armours are littered with extra lines that give their costumes volume and presence. 

The colours by Filardi are a large factor in providing Rogue Planet #5 with atmosphere. Large crystals cover the surface of this world and they change colour within this issue. While it makes the page look stunning, it also creates a feeling of unease as the colour changes feel like they are signifying something awful about to happen. The purple of the creature’s flesh is part of the reason it looks so unnerving because it stands out so much from everything else around it.

Another aspect of the issue that deserves a mention is the lettering by Crank!, as it is wonderful at ramping up the fear felt on the space ship. The “REE-REEE-REE” noises that are seen in SFX when the creature is getting ever so closer is what creates the suspense as it follows its latest victims. In addition, there is the suggested brutal howl of the wind, indicated by the long “OOOOOOOOO” that curls around bodies and tentacles. With the chaos ramping up with each page, the addition of the sound effects raises the pressure to almost unbearable levels.

Rogue Planet #5 is an excellent end to a terrific horror series. There has been an uneasy feeling since the prologue of the first issue, but it feels like it is all unleashed within this issue. With nearly no characters left, Bunn still found ways to menace the few remaining with nightmarish scenarios. The art and colours by MacDonald and Filardi have been consistently amazing. If I had one gripe, I would have liked the human characters to be more memorable. I feel much more appreciative of the story and pacing now that it is complete, and I believe the ending is a satisfying conclusion. I would recommend picking this issue up if you have been following the series and collecting the trade if you wanted to follow the horror from the beginning.

Rogue Planet #5 is released on September 28th and is available wherever comics are sold.

Rogue Planet #5
4.5

TL;DR

Rogue Planet #5 is an excellent end to a terrific horror series. There has been an uneasy feeling since the prologue of the first issue, but it feels like it is all unleashed within this issue. With nearly no characters left, Bunn still found ways to menace the few remaining with nightmarish scenarios.