After all the joys and little victories found in Issue #3, I thought things were looking up for Silas and the Settlement, but Issue #4 goes to some seriously dark places, delving deeper into the dangers of the planetoid and the darkness inside the Settlement’s would-be savior, Silas.
At the heart of this issue is Silas, who is run through the wringer this time around with more physical and emotional torture inflicted upon him than I can measure. His emotional journey is powerful, as he hits his lowest points and even shares the worst deeds he’s ever committed, which forever ruined any Han Solo comparisons I had going to this point. Thanks in large part to single-panel flashes depicting Silas’ internal moral struggles, Silas is an easy character to understand. By the end of the issue, I had a good impression of where Silas had come from and the places he was going. For the first time, he felt like he could be the hero the Settlement needed him to be.
If you’re a dog lover like me, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the giant lizard, Koma, by the end of the issue. Koma was a huge highlight for me, whose loyalty and relationship with Silas is sweet and heartbreaking in all the right ways. (Seriously, I want a giant lizard for my next dog now.) The same can not be said for Onica, whose role in this issue felt tacked on and kind of cheapened Silas’ entire experience for me. She needs more attention than she’s been given since her initial appearance and simply doesn’t get it here, but she is used with the expectation that readers have formed more of an attachment to her. (Admittedly, how she was used is a pet peeve of mine in fiction as a whole.)
The art in this issue works overtime. Whether it’s the dangers of the Rovers, Silas’ internal struggle, or the sweetness of Koma, the emotions in every scene are sold by the art. The characters’ injuries, both physical and internal, are difficult to look at. Despite the relative barrenness of the planetoid, somehow Garing manages to deliver a fascinating setting among the ruins. And, after being talked up for a while, both the Rovers and Ono Mao make an up-close-and-personal appearance in this issue and show exactly why the Settlement should be afraid of them. The Rovers are dangerous in every way possible, armed to the teeth and cleverer than you’d like a killer robot to be if you’re its next target. The Ono Mao are monstrous, with truly alien faces, which fit in nicely with Planetoid’s alien designs thus far. More light is shed on the Ono Mao’s true motives, which makes the stakes clearer and the Ono Mao more despicable than ever.
Planetoid #4 may be a dark book, but it hits these notes for all the right reasons, providing some much-needed information and connection to Silas while shaping him into the man he needs to be in order to save the Settlement.