Pullbox Reviews: Planet Gigantic- All ages friendly adventures……. in Space!

After Dr. Alberta Reilly and the geniuses at the Wunderkind Corporation create new life in the form of twin children Yuri and Valentina, they naturally do what any top secret government facility buried hundreds of feet below the Earth would do–they train them to be astronauts and send them into space.

Things go from bad to worse when the kids, and their robot caretaker MOTHER, crash-land on a strange and mysterious planet and soon find themselves in the midst of an epic battle between warring sister queens. Having lost far more than just their ship in the crash, the twins must learn to rely on each other and their emerging powers if they hope to surive.

Not everyone grows up with full knowledge of their purpose in life. In that regard, teen siblings Valentina & Yuri are pretty fortunate. They’re a little less fortunate in that their purpose was to travel through uncharted space on behalf of the Wunderkind Corporation, collecting and cataloging asteroid samples for potential mining operations. To help them in their mission, they were engineered to possess impressive powers: Valentina can create & manipulate gravitational fields, while her brother Yuri controls electromagnetic energy.

Pretty gnarly, right?

Early on in their mission, Val & Yuri run afoul of some vicious space spiders (as one does) and the subsequent damage to their ship forces them to crash land on a strange- and gigantic- planet (as one might). To survive, their powers will be tested, as will their abilities to adapt & overcome thier new situation. From birth, Val & Yuri have been trained to respond to every conceivable situation, however no one could have predicted just how dangerous life in space could be.

Okay, two people probably had a pretty good idea. Written by Eric Grissom & illustrated by David Halvorson, Planet Gigantic is a great adventure for young readers. Full of bizarre creatures, strange environments, & featuring as plucky a pair of young heroes as you’re likely to find anywhere, it’s a little bit Space Ghost, and a little bit Herculoids. If you don’t know what either of those are, check out some of the awesome comics put out by ___, featuring the whole Hanna Barbera lineup. The mixed bag of classic & new is rounded out with a welcome dose of John Carter of Mars.

Crafting a story for younger readers is a pretty fine balancing act. You have to keep things moving along at a fair pace, and you can’t really dig into deeper concepts of existentialism and predetermination. But, in order to keep the work open to a wider range of readers, you can’t go all “see Dick run”. While putting this book together, Eric Grissom was able to keep an eye on his younger target audience while keeping the door open to older readers. Mostly, he did this through the use of wry humor on behalf of his young heroes. Yuri and Val quip back and forth pretty much non-stop, an upbeat sense of sibling rivalry getting them through their ill-fated mission.

Personally, I’m a fan of David Halvorson’s artistic style, particularly as it relates to this book. It’s not overly stylized, but it’s just cartoony enough to ease young readers into the disastrous events that befall our youthful protagonists. As for the action, Halvorson has a great sense of dynamic motion in his work. His designs are pretty cool, bringing together a mix of human & human-adjacent characters that carry a hint of Bruce Tim in their DNA, and a diverse number of aliens coming in all shapes & sizes.

Taken in at a glance, from a pretty slick looking cover that reminded me of an old pulp adventure novel to its fast moving panels, Planet Gigantic is a quick moving story of young people learning to adjust to an unfamiliar environment. Coming in at around 130 pages, it’s got a little more meat on its bones than the average 24 page comic, and some of its scenes might be a little scary for very young readers. Keeping that in mind, this is a perfect book for any readers in the double digits. Maybe even triple digits.

Final Score: 9

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