Advance Review: Hard Sci-Fi Leads To Pulse-Pounding Action In ‘Genu: Volume 1’

by James Ferguson

Humankind has long looked up to the stars, wondering what is out there and how we might explore the vastness of outer space. In Genu, we’ve made it as far as Mercury, using the small planet’s location to collect a tremendous amount of solar energy for the people back on Earth. This is a routine operation…until the crew is visited by a strange being during a meteor storm.

Writers Tomasso Todesca, Alex Franquelli, and Giulio Srubek-Tomassy work quickly to establish the landscape of Genu. You see how hum-drum the lives of some of these characters are, despite being on a far off planet. This is normal to them, so they don’t have the sense of awe that we do in the present day. Seven, one of the kids on the base is annoyed by his parents and wants to do anything else than work with them on their projects. In other words, he’s an average kid.
Artist Aleksandra Fastovets brings this all to life with an impressive amount of detail. Although Genu is presented in black-and-white, there’s quite a lot of texture and depth to each image. You can see the sheen of the spacesuits and the vast emptiness of space around the characters. This really drives home the fact that they’re all alone out here. Yes, there are a few people in this base, but that’s all there is on this planet…until now.

This new normal of solar farming is suddenly thrown into disarray thanks to an impromptu meteor storm. By this point, we’ve been lulled into this false sense of security, convinced that while we’re out in space, things are basic, safe, and easy. That’s when the creative team pulls the rug out from under us and things get serious. It’s frightening and rather alarming to see this family who we only just met, but seemed very personable and relatable, thrown into such chaos and danger.
The alien that shows up plays in the uncanny valley. It’s just human enough to give us that basic form, yet different enough to throw us off. It makes for a nice dynamic that really heightens the uneasy feeling that follows. It reminds me a bit of Divinity from Valiant in terms of the look and feel, as well as the power set that follows.

Genu is just getting started as this is the first of a planned five-volume series so there’s much more to explore. The book ends when the story really gets going so while I’m eager to see where this goes, I was hoping for more in this debut. Additionally, the description of the book alludes to some elements that are not seen in this volume. These may come into play in future installments, but since they’re not here, it feels like a bit of a letdown. All that being said, Genu does have a solid hook. It’s a hard-sci concept that hits the ground running.
Genu from Markosia is set for release on April 20th, 2020. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and available now digitally through ComiXology.

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