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Retroworld Vol. 1 Review

It’s the distant future. Humanity has colonized the stars so long ago and to such a wide extent that some planets have forgotten their roots and regressed into a backwards state of existence. These planets are called Retroworlds. Let’s see if this latest book from Humanoids is any good?

Retroworld Vol. 1 (Humanoids)

If you were a fan of Heavy Metal the magazine (or the terrible movie with John Candy) and like your sci-fi to be pretty and interesting to look at, then this is a great choice. The artwork is crazy and colorful and headbutts you in the eyes with excellent costume, character, monster, and world design.

Space Link! Look out for that Octorok!

Based on the novels of Julia Verlanger, a french sci-fi writer in the 70s, the story is a pretty fun ride as well, leading us over the course of 200 pages through an archaic caste system on one of these Retroworlds, into the galaxy-spanning government that’s attempting to negotiate and deal with these throwbacks, and the special forces like teams responsible for infiltration.

Is It Good?

Kind of. Let me start by saying that I enjoyed reading the book, and have no issues with the plot or artwork. It’s a pretty standard sci-fi hero journey, but I recently paid 20 bucks to go see Star Wars VII which is the exact same plot as A New Hope, and enjoyed it. Same thing here. The political intrigue, battles, weapons, and future setting all come together into a good read.

The issue I have is that this book feels like a sprint. I’m not sure if it’s a translation issue, or a “we adapted this from a much longer novel” issue, but the pacing feels dramatically off. This might just be an issue with translating this specific story to panels, or it might be a weakness in the source material I’m unfamiliar with, but either way it was jarring for me. Characters mourn a death, and a page later they’re pretty well over it. Everyone is paper thin and replaceable, but if you don’t mind a quick read without much empathy, this will suffice. Everything else lined up so nicely though, and your own experience with it might be far different.


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