Red Planet Pioneer #1
[INESCO LLC $2.95 US]
Written by Jason Elias & Richard Tibbetts/Pencilled by Frank Hansen / Inked by Ryan Alonzo
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Red Planet Pioneer #1The story begins with Mars rebel secessionists blowing up an arriving ship. One rebel, Alec Harris, expresses outrage over the size of the explosion and the "hundreds [who] were killed." The leader of the rebellion tells him that he’ll be killed if he tries to leave the group and Alec then proceeds to shoot up the place. I guess his compunction about killing doesn’t include rebel lackeys.

Another group on Mars, the Council on Human-Android Relations (CHAR), is in a rioting mood. They want androids to have the same rights as humans on Mars "by any means necessary." Alec passes through this demonstration and ends up getting home, unknowingly aided by someone high up in the Red Planet Pioneer Corporation. However, he isn’t out of danger when he’s attacked later by his old secessionist comrades as he’s performing his job of "scrubbing and cleaning the biosphere shell." This entails Alec suiting up and going outside the dome into the harsh Martian atmosphere. The secessionists damage his air tank thinking he’ll suffocate without air. But it seems Alec has some secrets because he looks to be in perfectly good health walking around with no helmet and no air supply.

Ron Lim does the cover to Red Planet Pioneer #1 and it looks darn good. Unfortunately the color interior art is unpolished and chock full of huge panels that don’t really allow for very inspired storytelling. At the back of the book there’s a two page splash illustrated by Adam Byrne and Alfonzo Aguilar. I’d like to see what this team could do with the illustration chores on Red Planet Pioneer. The current art team could use some more time getting the hang of sequential storytelling.

As for the story, it’s promising but hampered by the artwork and by trying to cram too much information into a single issue. Maybe things on both sides of the creative fence would have been better served by a more focused tale just introducing us to Alec and the secessionists. I understand the need for hooking the reader and plunging them into the world but a slower pace could have flowed better and been as gripping.

Also included in the review packet was The Red Planet Pioneer Pack ($29.95 srp) containing a baseball cap, a heavyweight grey t-shirt, a Red Planet Pioneer Corporation Identification Badge and a Settler’s Permit. All were beautifully designed and of very high quality. After reading the comic book my first thought was why didn’t they put as much effort into this as they did with all of the peripheral stuff. The Red Planet Pioneer web site is equally spiffy and with the design talent and marketing savvy they’ve got I know they can put out a higher quality comic if they put their minds to it.

If you can’t find this issue locally, write to INESCO LLC, P.O. Box 785, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or hit their web site at www.redplanetpioneer.com [This is one very dead link.].