Back in November, I mentioned that my wife had purchased all six issues of Cross-Cult Comics’ Perry Rhodan series for me in digital format. I read and discussed the first three issues almost right away, but then between the holidays and editorial deadlines, I had to delay reading the final three issues. Here’s the link to my first post: Perry Rhodan Comics
I finally had a chance to read the second three-issue arc, entitled “Battle for the Sol.” I suspect the pun is deliberate, since Germans would pronounce “Sol” the same way English-speakers pronounce “soul.” In this case the Sol is one of the long-distance space ships Perry Rhodan uses over the course of his immortal existence to explore the universe. One cool element of this second story arc is that the covers were designed to connect to one another, a fact I hadn’t realized until I assembled the image for this post.
The second arc of the Perry Rhodan comic series takes up where the first arc left off. Perry Rhodan and the crew of the Sol have agreed to delay the search for their home galaxy so they help the insect-like Skra’Bji settle a new planet. However, the resettlement proves more time consuming than many people had expected and some members of the crew want to resume the search for the Milky Way Galaxy immediately without continuing to help the Skra’Bji. This is exacerbated when the Skra’Bji find the corpse of an ancient enemy, the Herayan, on the new world. For some reason the Skra’Bji begin to panic at the news of this corpse. One member of Rhodan’s crew decides to put an end to the Skra’Bji’s problems once and for all and plans to zap the Herayan corpse with a ray gun. Turns out that’s a big mistake. The energy from the ray gun revitalizes the enemy and it eventually makes it to the Sol, where it begins to rampage through the ship.
To make matters worse Rhodan along with Tr’Frel, the leader of the Skra’Bji, learn that a breach in the fabric of space will allow even more Herayans to invade the Umal Galaxy where the Skra’Bji live. Rhodan is sent on a quest for the sigil that will seal the breach which will allow the Herayan into the galaxy. In the meantime, Rhodan’s companions Gucky, Belayn, and Tolot must deal with the Herayan who have already invaded the ship. They succeed and learn that the Herayans remember all the galaxies they’ve been to and their brain patterns effectively contain a “map” that will point them back home. This strengthens the resolve of those who want to abandon the Skra’Bji to their fate and a “Humanity First” movement is formed and plots to take over the Sol from Perry Rhodan and his close companions.
Like the first story arc, the second was written by Kai Hirdt, illustrated by Marco Castiello, and colored by Michael Atiyeh. I liked the way the story explored the challenges of deciding whether to prioritize helping those who are “alien” or your own family and friends, especially when both groups are in need. Another thing I liked was that by sending Perry Rhodan and Tr’Frel off in their own quest, it allowed some of the secondary characters to shine. In fact, the second issue put the spotlight on Belayn Parcer who believes in helping the Skra’Bji and her struggle with a woman named Micaela who speaks for the Humanity First movement. Overall, the first two issues of this second story arc did a great job of allowing the artwork to tell the story. The third issue was a little exposition-heavy. Given the number of plot threads that needed to be wrapped up at the end of issue 2, this would have been hard to avoid without expanding into a fourth issue.
Also, like the first story arc, the second set of Perry Rhodan comics are only available in German. Once again, it was a nice opportunity for me to practice reading the German language and to learn more about one of the longest-running science fiction literary series. If you don’t speak German, but would like to explore the universe of Perry Rhodan, many of the early novels from the 1960s and 70s were translated into English and are widely available in used bookstores. Otherwise, the publisher J-Novel Club is translating the updated Perry Rhodan Neo series and releasing new volumes about every six weeks. I’ve been reading these as well and enjoying them a great deal.
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