With issue #2 of ARKS now up and running on Kickstarter, I had the opportunity to review issue #1 in the build-up to the second part of this story.
Arks is the terrifying and amazing story of Lilith and Joseph- two planetary engineers (Arks), who are booted by bacteria onto a terraformed world orbiting a distant star. To their horror they discover that the process may have accidentally turned the entire planet into a bomb.Rory Collins, Andrew Morris, James Daly and Neil Copland
As the last surviving humans they have a terrible decision to make. Do they try to survive in this brutal and cruel world or do they do the unthinkable and euthanize the species?
First of all, I am shocked that I missed this! I usually back titles like this on Kickstarter!. So I’m glad that the second issue allows you to take a second stab at catching up. More on that later.
When reading science fiction I usually look at the ‘world building’ – it’s usually something about how the information about the world we are reading about is set up for us to understand. There are, perhaps, certain rules that need to be abided by, or a certain situation.
ARKS does this, with some interesting facts and set-up, but it is also about literal world building. Two planetary engineers on a bold new world, making it their own. It is an absolutely fascinating idea and the setup is excellent.
We don’t get a massive info dump – the science does come later – but we do get something more religious. Some part of the creation myth that is not usually mentioned, and I had totally forgotten about. It has some very interesting and clever parallels, and I do wonder if this is something that will build into the later story.
Then there is the science. We get the science in a very clever method. The transfer has gaps, and things need to be explained for those involved to understand. This allows us, as the reader, to understand it too. I find the idea quite interesting, as most science fiction explorers go with the deep sleep/hyperspace route of colonizing new worlds. Of course, there is something that has gone wrong, but there is some information and mystery for us to be hooked.
The characters are interesting, and there is a good sense of history between the two. I like the relationship that is building and has been built between them – it links in with the story and the science.
The threat of the other animals on this world is a good aspect. Something wild and rabid about them, and the world is affecting them in some way. The world itself isn’t perfect, and this adds into the threat these two pioneers find themselves in. It leaves us at the end of issue #1 at a perfect point.
The art is incredible – with the vistas of the planet in amazing detail. The backgrounds being created in a gaming engine is an excellent and unique idea. It works too, giving us something that looks like Earth, but is still a little alien. In the foregrounds the art of the characters (and animals) work well – they don’t jar with the backgrounds, and have some excellent scenes. The effects of this new world really show on our two lead characters. From the allergies to the injuries, there is some excellent action and tender moments.
That leads me onto the second issue.
This looks to continue the amazing storytelling. With tiers available for digital versions, as well as (thankfully for me) either a digital or print catch-up.
It still has some time to go on it’s campaign and is well on the way to being funded.
Check it out ARKS Issue #2 here.