Review: Venna's Planet Volume One: Special Edition

by Benjamin Williams
6th April, 2024
3 minutes

Are you looking for some retro sci-fi that takes you on an epic journey that tests loyalties, unveils secrets, and balances the fate of an entire planet on the edge? If so, then Robin Grenville Evans' Venna's Planet might be what you need. Venna's Planet Volume One: Special Edition is a remastered version of the original series published by Oak Tree Books.

Venna's Planet Volume One: Special Edition

Venna is tired of fighting in an intergalactic war and wants a peaceful life. However, challenging the current state of affairs angers her mysterious superior, The Countess, whose past is linked with Venna's destiny. As orders become more ominous and alliances begin to break, a failed abduction triggers events that will alter the future of their world.

As usual, we'll start with the art. It's worth noting straight away the differences between this version of Venna's Planet and the one that was released in 2018. The original is a squared book containing black line art in the style of a newspaper comic strip. In the years since Grenville Evans wanted to improve the speech bubbles and add a drop of colour, but things have drastically changed.

According to the preface, at least 60% of the artwork has been redrawn, with some new scenes added. It's also not just a "drop of colour". This is now full colour. I've not read the originals, but I have seen plenty of the artwork inside. And the colour does add a fair bit at times. Some panels really pop with the addition. There's some brilliant colouring on show, too, with light shining off screens onto people's faces and vibrant colours where needed, and it feels like this is how it has always been.

Venna's Planet Volume One: Special Edition preview one

There are a few inconsistencies with the colouring style, though. A few panels where it looks like it's going for a more realistic look amongst panels that have a more comic feel.

I'm a big fan of black and white art, though, so I'm not entirely sure whether the change to colour was necessary. But it's also not my story, and if Grenville Evans feels like the story needed it, then I can't argue with that. The change in page layout, though, I think works better, so redrawing some panels was essential to re-align the panels. And the art style, although changed for the addition of colour, is still top quality.

The speech bubbles also changed, with the aim of making them a little larger and more legible. Everything is clear and easy to read, but there are a few times when a little bit more padding between the lettering and the edge of the bubble would be welcome.

Story-wise, Grenville Evans's storytelling compliments the art quite well. It's a thrilling, epic sci-fi journey that drops in the occasional bit of humour. The running theme of human flesh disgusting the Krogs is quite amusing, especially since they are so vocal about how gross it is to them.

Venna's Planet Volume One: Special Edition preview two

The story has a wonderful B-movie feel to it (I love B-movies). There is plenty of action, danger, and some mild sexual content in the form of revealing outfits and sadistic enemies for Venna to confront - the kind that borders on silly but is what makes it so enjoyable. And it's sci-fi, so being that level of silly is not a complaint in the slightest. We're also treated to a cliffhanger ending that will leave you desperate for the next edition.

I also appreciate that there's a reason for the changes other than changing the format. Plot holes have been filled. Mysteries have been, if not explained, then at least partially shrouded. And back stories have been fleshed out. So, even if you own the originals, there's still plenty here for you to enjoy the story all over again.

The Special Edition of Venna's Planet Volume One is a graphic novel that perfectly embodies the essence of adventure and the fascination of the unknown. It is a lively tribute to the roots of the genre, while also taking a daring step into the future. Whether you are an ardent fan or an inquisitive reader, Venna's world is a place that guarantees thrills, enigma, and a dash of nostalgia. Whilst I might not like all the changes, I appreciate the reasons why they've happened, and there's still tons to love about it, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4/5

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