Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here's the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we look at the first volume of Makoto Yukimura's Planetes!
Planetes is about a group of garbage collectors.
Only this book is about garbage collectors in SPACE!
Planetes takes a very interesting approach to the world of the future, as Yukimura knows that just like how the world of the sea includes not only cruise ships, travel vessels, fighting vessels, aircraft carriers and submarines, but also tug boats and garbage barges; then so does the world of space include crafts like the one in Planetes that just goes around collecting space debris.
Here the characters introduce us to this life style (remember, you have to read it from right to left)...
However, while the frank look at what outer space life would actually be like is interesting, if it was just an examination of outer space life, then it would not be that good as, well, let's be honest, it would just be an essay on "what outer space would be like in the future." And that, while perhaps interesting to people who are really really really interested in "what outer space would be like in the future," can get boring to people who are as much into that stuff.
Luckily, Planetes revolves around a very interesting cast of characters that really make the comic work. In fact, as much time as Yukimura devotes to the realistic science, he devotes JUST as much time to developing the characters.
Planetes is not a "graphic novel" in the sense of one complete long story - it is more like a collection of short stories that tell an advancing plot. The characters are Hachimaki, a young astronaut who dreams of being a famous explorer, Yuri, a Russian with a sad past, and Fee, a wife and mother who is gruff, yet she cares about her crewmates.
The stories are basically slice of life stuff, although there is one chapter that gets pretty action-packed, as some world-saving is involved.
The art is great, but mainly you'll find yourself drawn into these people's world by the rich characters and in-dept characterizations, and you will want to read more and more about these characters.
The stories mix in humor and action and drama quite nicely.
Only one real complaint about the series. At one point, with no explanation, Yukimura switches Yuri and Hachimaki's hair color!! It is weird. Just, out of nowhere, the blonde one is now dark-haired and the dark-haired one is now blonde. Strange.
Still, highly recommended!
I basically gave this same review a few years back - BC.