Writer: J.G. Birdsall
Illustrator: Thomas Garbarini
Fifty years into the future, an ecological disaster destroys 90% of Earth’s population and makes our planet unlivable. When the President of the United States takes measures to seize resources from large corporations and restore stability, the corporations form a mega-corp to cement their control of the U.S. economy and orchestrate the colonization of Mars.
To implement this plan, the mega-corp turns Earth’s moon into a mining operation, stripping it of all natural resources. Workers at the Lunar bases were promised an eventual home on Mars, but the increasing demand for ore means that the working class was eventually transplanted to Venus. All of this is background to the events of Venus Rises. At the time that the first issue takes place, the Venusian underclass has largely accepted that the possibility of retiring to Mars is unattainable and unrest is brewing.
While the premise is intriguing, Venus Rises is a laborious read. It is difficult to connect the relevance of character dialogues and the artwork is inconsistent, making key characters difficult to recognize between panels. It is a series that doesn’t immediately grab your attention in the first issue and fails to do so as the story progresses in the second. One of the few intriguing character arcs of the story is that of Hollister Pelt, an asset protection enforcer for the Shirokawa Corporation. The story introduces Pelt as a character who is working to make his voice heard to his superiors but fails to understand his subjection to forces beyond his control. Apart from setting up this interesting character arc, Venus Rises is a rehashing of many science fiction stories themed around class warfare, and it unfortunately lacks any depth of its own.