Conspiracy: Planet X Review: Compelling Horror from Zenescope

Conspiracy: Planet X
9/10
Conspiracy: Planet X sees Goldbergs writer Adam F. Goldberg & Hans Rodionoff tie multiple conspiracies together to horrific effect.

Conspiracy: Planet X continues Zenescope's comic anthology of sci-fi horror, but there may be more tying these stories together than what initially seemed.

Conspiracy: Planet X cover. Credit: Zenescope Entertainment
Conspiracy: Planet X cover. Credit: Zenescope Entertainment

Up until now, Conspiracy has been structured like some of Zenescope Entertainment's previous anthology series, such as Grimm Tales of Terror and early issues of Grimm Fairy Tales before it became a superhero epic. This issue brings elements of all the previous standalone stories into a story that functions both as the series' ultimate payoff and, incredibly, a one-off comic that can be read on its own without prior knowledge. Hans Rodionoff and Goldbergs showrunner Adam F. Goldberg script from a plot by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Dave Franchini, and this writers' room-style storytelling pays off well with Conspiracy: Planet X. Like previous issues, this is a well-balanced mixture of psychological terror, sci-fi intrigue, and emotional, character-based storytelling.

Longtime Zenescope artist Allan Otero has never been better than on Conspiracy. He has always been a talented artist when it came to depicting horror, but the way that he has grown at depicting character acting from the days of Spirit Hunters to now is impressive. Leonardo Paciarotti's colors work beautifully with Otero's line work, and letter Carlos M. Mangual deftly handles both the standard conversational scenes as well as a climax that overwhelms with sound effects in a purposeful, effective way.

If this is the last issue of Conspiracy, it leaves off on a fittingly bleak note. However, this is a series that easily has depths that can be mined for many, many more stories. Zenescope has explored urban legends and fairy tales for over fifteen years now and now dip into conspiracies with this five-issue series. While conspiracies are endlessly politicized in the media, it's interesting to see this creative team use these dark theories to tell compelling stories that don't feel the need to try to make it seem as if this is some kind of secret truth. Rather than getting into the dark politics of conspiracies, Conspiracy, from the first issue to this climatic fifth, succeeds in turning creepy "What if…?" ideas into thrilling horror stories.

About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.