Workers Are From Venus, Elitists Are From Mars - VENUS RISES Ch. 1
Venus Rises: Exordium Chapter 1
Conceived and Written by J.G. Birdsall
Illustrated by Thomas Garbarini
As the Earth neared becoming
inhabitable, corporations came together and assumed control of the
government. These Mega-Corps set up mining operations on the moon
before the elite left Earth and colonized Mars. Demand for resources
remained high, and once the moon's resources had been depleted, the
miners were sent to Venus with the promise they could one day join
the new Martian society. That promise has not been kept, and Venus
has declared its independence. Now, civil war looms on the horizon.
The first few pages contain a timeline
of preceding events.
This is the first occasion where a timeline actually got me excited
for a series of any kind. Normally they're completely dry and
factual. This one actually sets up the story to come. As such, it
also marks the first time I've actively hoped for a flashback in a
comic book. There were many events listed on the timeline that would
be awesome to see in a graphic format. Furthermore, the timeline also
presents several events that add an air of mystery to the story as
well, adding to the level of anticipation the reader has before even
starting the actual story. This is just the first of several small
touches that set this comic book apart from others of its kind. Each
setting in the story is described with a blurb that details that
location's information. This includes the details of planets (mass,
year length, number of moons, etc..) and specifics of various ships
and bases (owner, weight, length, etc..).
Once the actual story begins, it is
told from two different perspectives. That of the crew of the salvage
ship Cattywampus and from the point of view of Hollister Pelt, an
employee of the Shirokawa Mega-Corp. The crew of the Cattywampus has
been doing their best to stay out of the conflict between Venus and
Mars. Meanwhile, Pelt has stumbled upon information that may help
save his floundering employer. Birdsall does a great job of giving
the reader small details about the characters without revealing too
much. This leads to a great build up of tension and foreshadows
motivations that may come into play in later chapters of the story.
Although there is dialogue when
necessary, I love that so much of the story is told purely through
visuals. This lets the reader experience the world Birdsall and
Garbarini have created without having to focus on following a written
narrative. Garbarini uses a lot of background detail that gives the
story a high level of richness. The reader doesn't have to be told
through dialogue or narration that the ship is in disrepair, they can
draw that conclusion for themselves by taking in the artwork. I
really liked that the characters are drawn to look like actual
people. I did find it odd that there are times when the characters
stand out from the background in a jarring way, almost forcing the
eye to either look at the characters or the scene around them.
Garbarini's illustration style has an animated look to it. I think
the discrepancy in coloring between characters and background may be
a result of his style being presented in static images. In any case,
I eventually got used to it as I read further into the comic.
Venus Rises is a very intimate and human-centric story that just so happens to be set in space. Although there is potential for grander scale events, this isn't some galaxy spanning space epic, which I found really refreshing. It's a unique take on a Science-Fiction adventure that has elements of a character study. This first chapter sets the stage for what promises to be a fun interplanetary saga. The first two chapters of this independently published series are available now, with a third in production.
Writing: 5 / 5
Art: 4.5 / 5
OVERALL: 4.8 / 5