Gene Roddenberry is known as a titan of science fiction because of his greatest creation, Star Trek. Whether you were a fan of the show or its subsequent movies, Lost Universe is a good point to jump onto the worlds created by the Star Trek creator.
The Lost Universe comic was based on a concept Roddenberry formulated. It also features character creation and development by his daughter Majel Barret Roddenberry, who played Lwuxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Lost Universe issue was written by Lawrence Watt-Evans, penciled by James Callahan, and inked by Aaron McCellan.
It is obviously similar to Star Trek, but it also seems to draw on other stories like Battlestar Galactica in terms of how it is handled.
The story is of the space farers Dr. Grange (a man) and Penaltra (a woman), who go to Grange’s home planet of Malay and find that it has changed drastically. Grange has a family there and he immediately is worried.
When they land on the planet, they find that Grange’s family farm has been overrun by forest. They do find the farm deep within the forest, but there is no evidence of life or clues to where the family went. Grange insists on finding them, but, though she doesn’t say it to Grange, Penaltra cares little about finding them.
Penaltra is more interested in what happened to the planet of Malay.
Soon Grange is attacked by a man-bat like beast in a scene that shows great promise with the action elements pulled into cohesion with the storyline. Penciler Callahan’s shows his ability to put together a good action moment.
Grange is familiar with the beasts, and calls them Payeru, but says they had previously been a peaceful group.
The mystery behind Grange’s past locks the next parts of the story, as he isn’t even sure of much of it.
“Malay has gone mad,” Grange says. “And how could so much change so fast?”
Grange isn’t sure of what happened, but he intends to find out.
The comic has more action than characterization, which contradicts many first issues of series that have origin stories.
The panels are well placed for a title from a small publisher, showing the comic was taken seriously from the outset. The panels show much of the characters at just the right times.
Still, much more could have been done with the artwork.
The story itself is sound, and, though the dialogue isn’t up to modern standards like from writers Garth Ennis or Warren Ellis, it does fit in the mold of an old Star Trek episode.
In the end, the first issue of Lost Universe is an important work from the mind of Gene Roddenberry.