REVIEW: ‘Rogue Planet,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rogue Planet

Rogue Planet  Volume 1 is a trade paperback published by Oni Press collecting the five issues of this science fiction thriller. Written by Cullen Bunn, art by Andy MacDonald, colors by Nick Filardi and lettered by Crank!. This story brings us aboard the salvage vessel Cortes on a trip to an orphan star to recover a payload of epic proportions but what awaits them on the surface is much more than they bargained for.

I will admit, when gearing up to read this I had my own preconceived notions of what this plot could contain. I expected high impact, in your face science fiction horror, but what I was not prepared for was how claustrophobic I felt immediately upon my descent into the narrative. Cullen Bunn is no stranger to horror, which I knew, but I was not expecting to feel as though I was also a crew member, confined to the dormant halls of the ship. We meet the crew of the Cortes one by one as they awake from hypersleep en-route to a rogue planet (A star not bound to any solar system) while below, something awaits their arrival.

I was hooked at this point. That said, there were several films that came to mind that use a space crew that’s all alone, finds something spooky, all goes wrong etc…but what broke that train of thought was how quickly we become attached to the humanity of the crew and how quickly events happen that my own ‘fight or flight’ instinct began going off.

An indescribable race of beings inhabits the planet, using ritual sacrifice to satisfy a tower of flesh. Yes, a tower of flesh with multiple eyes and crooked teeth, something even Lovecraft would applaud. The tension of impending doom is torn apart with the eruption of the flesh monster’s appearance which turns our crews’ luck on its head several times. Oh, and the crew? Be careful who you get attached to.

Bunn’s pacing of this paperback is masterful, simply masterful. It is a fast read, but not because it is simple. The dwindling of the team and increasing hopelessness between the survivors instills the feeling that time is running out, not just for the crew of the Cortes, but for YOU. The increasingly frantic tone of scared crew mates serves this purpose as well, which I felt really added to the humanity of the story. There were no cliché or unbelievable actions, only panic in their conversations. The dialogue never felt campy, forced, or too sci-fi. It was extremely accessible, and each character was relatable and that’s entirely thanks to Crank!’s lettering that was incredibly unique with an easy to read style that fits the flow of the page without being too blocky. 

As much as I love the writing, the crown needs to be shared with MacDonald for his immersive world and bone-chilling artwork. Combined with Filardi’s colors, the crystals that protrude from the ground glow on the page, and the hectic moments of firefights truly blossom on the page with brilliant greens and oranges which give scenes an even more unearthly feeling. It is also those smooth moments that shine a light on how gruesome and rough the flesh monster is.

Overall, Rogue Planet was truly a surprising science fiction horror story that caught me by surprise like a sucker punch. I will say that reading this in trade was a true gift because it gives Bunn’s pacing the breathing room to let loose and tear through you the way it did the crew of the Cortes. When the story ends, you begin reflecting on what you just experienced and realizes that every piece fell exactly where it needed to. Rogue Planet Volume 1 also includes each chapter cover art so you can truly soak in the fluorescent terror for each issue. Highly recommend this fever dream turned real for anybody interested in horror. Period.

Rogue Planet Volume 1 is out now wherever comics are sold.

Rogue Planet Volume 1
5

TL;DR

Overall, Rogue Planet was truly a surprising science fiction horror story that caught me by surprise like a sucker punch. I will say that reading this in trade was a true gift because it gives Bunn’s pacing the breathing room to let loose and tear through you the way it did the crew of the Cortes. When the story ends, you begin reflecting on what you just experienced and realizes that every piece fell exactly where it needed to. Rogue Planet Volume 1 also includes each chapter cover art so you can truly soak in the fluorescent terror for each issue. Highly recommend this fever dream turned real for anybody interested in horror. Period.