This is the story of Eunice and how she saves the world.

Eunice and her partner Peter are on their way to Rydra-17, the titular Planet Paradise, for a getaway. Eunice is scared? nervous? unsure? about where she and Peter’s traveling capsules will be placed, pleading to the steward to  make sure they are placed right next to the other. You get the feeling Eunice has not had a terribly eventful life and is not very assertive.

The ship sets off and within a few days, BANG! A malfunction happens and the ship crashes on a thought-to-be deserted planet. The captain is survives,  but her leg is broken; her co-captain is presumed dead. The traveling tubes are scattered about, with only Eunice’s popping open. Scared, Eunice searches the wreckage for Peter and starts to sob when she can’t find him, until she hears a distress call coming from the wreckage. Her first set of challenges: get to the captain, set the leg, and carry the captain to safety.

Eunice bravely overcomes even more challenges, such as scouting for medical supplies and building the SOS beacon. She even saves the captain, now hopped up on pain meds, from killer lizards. Eunice’s biggest challenge of all is to overcome the odds by getting the captain and the rest of the passengers safely onto the rescue ship. There is even a scene out of Jurassic Park as Eunice is chased by a clever girl of a lizard around the ship until Eunice kills it and its mate.

With everything and everyone safe and sound now on Rydra-17, the drug-addicted captain takes all the credit for the heroics. Eunice, however, goes on a safari with Peter and saves them from killer animals once thought to be docile. Eunice can now do anything and is afraid of no one.

Here’s the thing; there is very little dialogue throughout the book, leading artist and writer Jesse Lonergan to use experimental placement of the panels to tell the story. By strategically placing smaller panels within large panels and some pages with lots of white space, Lonergan told a story of a woman who came into her own while fulfilling an sci-fi adventure story all the same.

Planet Paradise is Lonergan’s second solo book from Image Comics and his sixth book overall, with most of his other work in anthologies and collaborations ranging in topics from Willie Nelson to history. He counts among his influences sci-fi, Chris Ware, surrealism, and diary comics. He also attributes Calvin and Hobbes as an influence, which is clear in the drawing style;  he favors pinks and pastels for the coloring to give it a playful feel. The lack of dialogue does not make for lack of plot (though some questions not answered include: why does everyone slurp their drinks, and how do the captain and Eunice escape from the killer lizard at the beginning of the book?) The slight plot holes, however, don’t negate from enjoyment of the story.

Planet Paradise commands your attention visually because you never know where Lonergan is going to head to next which makes the story that much more exciting. The sparse verbiage and loose drawings do not take away from the story. This is a very much “show, don’t tell” kind of book and is perfect for non-graphic novel readers and old fans of the medium alike.

Planet Paradise
By Jesse Lonergan
Image Comics, 2020
ISBN: 9781534316980
Publisher Age Rating: 13-16+

Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)

  • Lisa R.

    | She/They

    Reviewer and Content Editor

    Lisa contains multitudes. She is a content wunderkind, librarian, geek, and makes a delightful companion to trivia teams. She does not live in Brooklyn nor attend a fancy college. She spills her guts at and she can be found as @heroineinabook across the internet.

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