Pullbox Reviews: Remnant- Three generations of survivors on Mars…

After decades of pollution and climate have ravaged the Earth leaving it nearly uninhabitable, a young man joins an impossible mission: to terraform Mars. Three generations of his family face tragedies and triumphs as they attempt to build a new home for mankind. Remnant is a sweeping and timely epic told in a single issue, about the tragic collapse of one society, the difficult birth of another, and one family’s struggle to navigate both.

With our home planet of Earth on the verge of dying, its resources vastly overburdened by its population, we look to Mars. Amidst protests & with no guarantee of success, colonists embark on a one-way trip to the red planet. On arrival, the work of survival begins as the builders begin to build, and the scientists begin to science. An unwelcoming host, Mars may be the last hope for humanity but the challenges it presents aren’t going to be resolved overnight.

Or in a year.

Or a decade.

Remnant is very tightly told story that follows three generations of colonists, starting with lead botanist Marcus. His job was to create a strain of plant life that could survive on the hostile surface of Mars. As often happens in the workplace, Marcus met a girl. They fell in love, had a daughter, & life went on. Evelyn followed in her father’s footsteps, picking up his research where he’d left off, succeeding where he hadn’t, & bringing a child of her own into the brave new world.

So it goes, from Marcus to Evelyn, and finally to Mateo… a family in service to the human race, doing all that it can to ensure our survival.

Remnant, for all that it stands as a great example of what I would consider “high concept” science fiction, is told with no fancy trappings, no frivolous plot devices, and not a hint of an explosion or alien invaders. At the core, it’s a story that could have been shaped to fit any genre, as it’s all about the responsibility that’s passed from one generation to the next. Michael Roslen did a fantastic job of holding this vast expanse (no relation) of a story to its most essential parts, keeping it focused on the relationships between three family members separated by time & their work. The fact that he was able to do it in the space of 22 pages is nothing short of a miracle.

As comics are a visual medium, we have to mention the artwork. I say “have to”, but what I actually mean is that I get to! Illustrated by Karly Engracia, Remnant looks amazing & that ain’t just the potentially lethal doses of hot caffeinated goodness I’m working under the influence of talking. Engracia has crafted a world of stark utility and natural beauty, the two very different attitudes fitting together as the Mars colony goes from bare bones settlement to established city, with the Martian landscape as the backdrop. With colors added by Davi Comodo (cool name!), Engracia’s work is given depth & life. Comodo (seriously, it sounds like a dragon who’s in charge of a fleet or something…) takes the landscape of Mars, all shades of orange, & blends in the added influence of humanity as they work to bring green to their new home.

Lettered by Sean Rinehart, this had to be a pretty tame job. There were no large spaceship battles, nothing at all requiring bombastic sound effects. Told mainly in a first person narrative, the lettering follows suit in a quiet, understated style. For all of that, kudos to Rinehart for not trying to liven things up with fancy fonts or other elaborate endeavors that would have taken away from the story being told here.

As far as surprises go, Remnant was a pretty pleasant one. Having more in common with The Martian than with Star Trek, it stands as a testament to the human will to endure, & as a reminder that as smart as we think we are the universe will always have an answer for us. I’m going to publicly & enthusiastically give my thanks to Michael Roslen for sending this one my way.

Okay… now I gotta go read something a little less introspective. Maybe with space cowboys… possibly a hydra.

Final Score: 10+

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