Lost on Planet Earth #1 is a new sci-fi series from Kim and Kim and Morning in America‘s Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre. It’s set in a futuristic Richmond, Virginia where the Earth has basically become Star Trek. The only thing that our protagonist, Basil, wants in life is to become a captain in the Interplanetary Fleet. First, she has to pass a battery of tests that make the SAT look like an open book quiz.
What resonated with me the most about Lost on Planet Earth is how relatable Basil’s life situation is. Sure, the book is set in the future, and she takes her big exam via some kind of hologram pod, but there’s still that universal conflict between what you think society wants you to do and what you want to do.
Visaggio spends the first half of the comic showing Basil’s incredibly rigid life routine. That includes skipping yummy chilaquiles for nutrition shakes and listening to educational recordings instead of upbeat music while practicing judo. This rigidity extends to Aguirre’s artwork. There’s a tenseness to Basil’s movements. That’s only broken by a hilarious breakfast reaction panel and getting pushed into the pool by her friend Charlotte. These sequences make you wish that Basil wasn’t so hard on herself and just got to be a kid. Hey, that wish might just come true.
To go with Aguirre’s depiction of Basil’s body language and Visaggio’s prose, this uniformity and sense of order on Lost on Planet Earth #1 extends to the storytelling and panel transitions. It’s so nice to see form married to content like a memorable scene where Basil stands in the same position with the same sad expression on her face while her family and friends fade into the background. She’s in her own little world and not even paying attention to their words and touches of encouragement. This single page nails the character of Basil. It acts as a deep breath before the plunge of the rest of the issue.
Another aspect of Lost on Planet Earth that I enjoyed was that it embraced the commentary on human civilization, relationships, and family on science fiction while putting action on the backburner. (For now.) Visaggio peppers her plot with great conversations. Basil. chats with her mom about why she never aspired to become a captain in the Interplanetary Fleet. That leads to a heart-to-heart about choosing family and passions (Art, in this case.) over career advancement. This is the complete opposite of the current American late capitalist, productivity culture and also Basil’s “no fun until retirement” regimen. Honestly, Basil’s family is great and supportive.
Lost on Planet Earth #1 is a stellar example of science fiction. It provides a vision of the future and also how one young woman reacts to it on a personal level. Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre also increase the book’s energy and vitality level with every page and even introduce a supporting character, who will probably end up being my favorite character in the whole damn thing. If you’re tired of the rat race of school and career and find utopian societies a little uptight, then Lost on Planet Earth is the book for you.
Story: Magdalene Visaggio Art: Claudia Aguirre Letters: Zakk Saam
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Comixology Originals provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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