Lost Planet: First Colony
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: 12/31/2013
Page Count: 48
Cost: $9.99 (MSRP)/$8.99 (Amazon)
Get it Here: Amazon.com
Lost Planet was not a franchise that I thought was lucrative enough for Capcom to base a comic book around. Although, I thought the same thing about Red Faction and that got similar treatment, so what do I know? Regardless, it’s not a property with a heavy focus on plot, with the second game practically chopping it out completely to focus on multiplayer antics. I haven’t yet touched the third game to see if this has changed, but as this particular comic takes place forty years before the start of that title, it can be enjoyed without prior knowledge of that game’s lore.
If you’re not familiar with Lost Planet, the basic gist of it is that Earth has sapped its own resources and is on a mission to colonize and subsequently harvest the resources of other planets in order to obtain enough energy to clean up the mess they made for themselves. This effort is led primarily by an organization known as NEVEC (short for Neo Venus Construction) and they eventually discover the ice planet, E.D.N. III. While barren on the surface, this planet is home to insect-like creatures called Akrid that carry a substance known as T-ENG, a kind of thermal energy. It not only helps the Akrid survive the harsh environment, but is a powerful energy source for the humans to harvest as well.
First Colony chronicles the exploits of the crew of the Crusader, a ship led by female commander, June, as they hijack information from NEVEC as a means for financial gain. During a mining vessel heist, June and her team learn that the planet E.D.N. III was recently abandoned, mining gear at all. Not thinking of why it was left alone, they quickly run to the surface with dollar signs in their eyes, ignorant of the Akrid threat that lay in wait for them there.
The comic manages to take the interesting premise squandered by the various games and do something worthwhile with it. The tale is brief, but it still puts together a fairly interesting ensemble cast, even if their time is fleeting. The story as a whole is very grim, despite the Akrid interaction is minimal, so if you were looking for an action packed extermination bonanza packed with one-liners, you won’t find it here. Character development seemed to come primarily to crew members that you’d least expect, save for June whose rough exterior houses a tender care for those on her squad. Topping it all off is a surprise twist at the end (at least to me since I haven’t played LP3 yet) which makes for a well rounded prologue story. Seriously, I don’t know what happens after this, but I’m sure it’s not half as interesting.
The comic itself is a nice hardcover book with full color illustrations. I’m not completely sold on the art style on account of not being able to distinguish too well between the various characters. There were even a few panels where the expressions of people look really derpy (check out the crazy eyes on page 17), but otherwise it does its job. The Akrid in particular are well drawn though and some of the more gory sequences really hit home. You’d think that a planet entirely covered in ice would be a bland thing to look at too, but the artist managed to craft scenery using the sun and different lighting techniques to make it aesthetically interesting. Overall, the art style was a mixed bag, but there’s more good here than not and is more impressive than the Dead Space graphic novels I’ve seen.
While I can’t think of many people pining for more Lost Planet lore, First Colony manages to stand on its own legs. Its purpose is to setup the plot for LP3, though it does enough things right that it can be properly enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the franchise. Ten bucks is also not a bad price for a full color graphic novel. It costs about the same for a manga volume and those don’t come in hardcover like this does (though they are usually longer). If you enjoyed the Lost Planet games at all, or even if you didn’t and can appreciate the potential of an ice planet full of bugs, it’s worth giving First Colony a look.