REVIEW: ‘Planet Paradise’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Planet Paradise

Planet Paradise is a sci-fi graphic novel published by Image Comics, and written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Jesse Lonergan. Eunice and her husband Peter board a tourist ship headed for Rydra-17, aka “Planet Paradise.” But when their ship crash lands on a planet filled with giant killer lizards, Eunice and the Captain of the ship are the only ones left alive and conscious, the only hope for getting to Planet Paradise.

Despite using a minimal amount of dialogue in Planet Paradise, Lonergan tells a wonderful story. Even when Lonergan does include dialogue, he keeps his cards close to his chest, only revealing exactly what the reader needs to know; no more, no less. The reader is almost as in the dark as Eunice and the Captain. If Lonergan wasn’t such a masterful storyteller this risk may not have paid off, but he pulls it off and it adds to the atmosphere of the world. You can almost imagine that you’re right there with Eunice.

While Lonergan lists each important character in Planet Paradise at the front of the comic, he gives them minimal detail. The only explicit description given to Eunice is as “a vacationer”, and the wife of  Peter. The rest of her characterization comes from her actions throughout the story. And Lonergan gives her a lot of character development.

Eunice isn’t looking to be a hero, she doesn’t do the right thing and save the Captain, and the other passengers because she wants recognition. She just does the right thing because she can’t fathom not doing that. She’s scared, she doesn’t know where she is or what happened. And she doesn’t know if her husband is alive or dead. But when she realizes that she can save countless lives, she doesn’t hesitate to jump into action. 

In addition to being the writer, Lonergan is also the artist and letterer for Planet Paradise, giving the entire story a feeling of cohesion. Lonergan is able to make up for the minimal dialogue by using stunning, expressive art and lots of sound effects. The way Lonergan uses sound effects is so expressive and really helps fully immerse the reader in the story.

The art in Planet Paradise is gorgeous. Lonergan’s characters feel stylized in the way that they all feel like they belong to the same universe, but they all look very unique. In addition to the unique character designs, Lonergan’s colors are beautiful. Soft and blended, Planet Paradise looks like a beautiful watercolor painting.

In the same way that Lonergan’s linework feels loose and sketch-like, the lettering has a bit of a rough around the edges feel. It’s as if  Lonergan was writing as fast as possible without becoming illegible. If this story was dialogue-heavy Lonergan’s lettering style would feel like too much, and would be too difficult to read. However, because the art tells most of the story this lettering choice feels okay. And Lonergan’s placement of speech bubbles and sound effects flows within the panels, enhancing the art rather than distracting from it. 

The one issue with Planet Paradise is the anticlimactic and open ending. While it’s nice that Lonergan doesn’t hold the reader’s hand and explicitly explains every single thing, Eunice’s story felt like it didn’t wrap up as neatly as it could’ve. With the rest of the story being so strong, this isn’t a huge problem, but it was enough to take the rating down a half star.

Planet Paradise is a beautifully crafted and immersive comic that can appeal to fans of soft sci-fi or fans new to the genre.

Planet Paradise is available now wherever comics are sold.

Planet Paradise
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TL;DR

Planet Paradise is a beautifully crafted and immersive comic that can appeal to fans of soft sci-fi or fans new to the genre.