Review: PLANET CARAVAN #1 More Than Carries Its Weight

You would be hard-pressed to find a more stylized comic book than Planet Caravan #1.

FIRST IMPRESSION

While flawed, Planet Caravan #1 rises above its shortcomings producing one of the most memorable introductions this year.
Writing/Story
Inks/Pencils
Colors
Letters
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Andrea Amenta and Stefano Cardoselli’s Planet Caravan #1, which releases August 28th from Scout Comics, draws inspiration from everything between Sin City/300–era Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, and Matt Kindt. Amenta’s script is direct and simple but contains tiny details that flesh out its broad characters. Cardoselli’s art is a tad messy, lacking in detail, yet somehow transcends above these faults to produce some of the most memorable art of the year. Planet Caravan #1 sets expectations for a huge series.

Planet Caravan #1 is a very straightforward quasi-Mecha comic. A lone soldier, Jason, is stranded on a planet after a huge conflict that left him no contact with his forces. The only communication he has had with anything is his Mech Suit/Ballon that permanently hangs over his head, which he has a seemingly symbiotic relationship with. Not much is known about what the war was about, where this planet is, nor who Jason’s forces fought against, and as of now, specifics don’t seem to matter much. Everybody is fighting everyone over nothing.

Amenta’s script is much more focused on Jason’s emotional well being, and the story begins with a VERY Miller-esque monologue that reads like it was ripped straight from the pages of Sin City. Almost the entirety of the first half of the comic sets up how much Jason misses his wife, Grace, and that is about it. It makes sense due to the stories solipsistic nature, but I can’t help but feel it could have been done better. Maybe include more details of the battles, his comrades, or honestly include no dialogue. Silence in this story could be one of the most effective monologues. All of this is interrupted by his Mechanical suit that floats above him, ironically named Love, which feels more interested in keeping the emotion out of Jason.

Enemies Attacking Jason
Follow the guy with the chainsaw sword!!

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Much is to be made of Stefano Cardoselli’s art. Speaking honestly, it is not for everyone. It is messy, lacking in detail, and still, I cannot stop looking at it. The level of emotion radiating from these panels is breathtaking. There are obvious allusions to contemporary artists such as Love’s bloody red fist being blatantly inspired by Mignola’s Hellboy or the beautiful watercolors and scratchy line-work more reminiscent of Matt Kindt’s work.

Much of the story is depicted through the art, probably even more so than the dialogue. When Jason is waxing poetic about the rose’s being grown in the grave of all the fallen, it’s implied that the scale of the battle is large, but then the scene pulls back and the entire lower half of the panel is covered in waves of red, further clarifying the bloodshed. The almost classical Roman era design of Jason’s attackers give the impression that they are a simplistic if not outdated and brutal society. And of course, the close-ups of Jason’s face convey so much trauma, ache, and emotion that it more than triumphs over the perceived shortcomings of the style.

Planet Caravan #1 is a daring leap from Scout Comics. Writer Andrea Amenta, translator Daniele Bonfanti, artist Stefano Cardoselli, and letter Bram Meehan produce a comic that while flawed is as satisfying a read as is out currently. Planet Caravan #1 is simply a cut above the competition.

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Ben Snyder
A lover of dogs, comics, anime, and beer in that unspecific order. Has a bunch of useless cinema knowledge used only to annoy friends and family.

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