Whether you know anything about the series or not, whether you watched the show but loathed the movie, whether you think everyone with any interest in the series is the ultimate sci-fi geek, Lost in Space: Voyage to the Bottom of the Soul will obliterate all expectations and worries. Written by Bill Mumy, the original “Will Robinson” in the show, and drawn by Michal Dutkiewicz, this twelve-chapter graphic novel has everything anyone needs to fall in love (for the first or the fiftieth time) with the Robinson family as they traverse the immense frontier of space.
The first six chapters were originally published issues to the Lost in Space comic book series in the 1990s that unfortunately got the axe. However, through the perseverance of Mumy and Dutkiewicz, the full story can now be read and enjoyed along with a boatload of extras, including a foreword by Stan Lee, detailed introductions by both Mumy and Dutkiewicz, and more.
The story takes place eight years after the Jupiter 2 left Earth for Alpha Century to colonize the planet but was sabotaged by the treacherous Dr. Zachary Smith. Finally, after many adventures, the crew has finally made it to their destination. With Smith in stasis and planet side in sight, the Robinsons believe their quest has come to an end. But no sooner do they land than an alien race, the Aeolians—slug-like behemoths—overtake the group and offer them up to the “Great Machine” in hopes of killing the humans with whom they hold a grudge. But the “Great Machine” sends them to different parts of the universe.
Will Robinson and Smith have been sent to an archipelago of islands that used to make up the California coastline, now ruled by marauding gangs and radioactive human deformities. John, Maureen, and Penny Robinson find themselves on a planet in which the local human-like people are subjected to a demanding ruling class. Suffering from a bout of amnesia, John forsakes his wife and daughter to help the locals revolt against the regime, while Penny begins to fall for one of the local folk. Judy Robinson and her longtime romantic interest, Major Don West, find themselves in a jungle paradise left to their own devices. With only Robot to save them, the Robinsons are in greater peril than ever before.
On many levels, this is not the Lost in Space everyone remembers. Given that the characters have aged eight years, the level of sexuality absent in the show becomes very present here among all the characters. Separated as they are, they experience some very different adventures that will (should another series happen after this one) inevitably change the family dynamics.
A progression of artistic styles can be seen in the first six comics that becomes strikingly clear in the second half, it having been more recently accomplished. The first six chapters are overdrawn in some stances, making panels feel inundated with color, lines, and shading, but as the chapters advance the tone becomes more consistent and clearer. Several small typos in the text can be found, but nothing extraordinary.
Delivering 360 pages of adventure and entertainment, this graphic novel certainly succeeds in adding to the Lost in Space universe, but it does something else, too. With lengthy introductory pieces and the first several pages of story, neophytes to the series do not need any real background in the series to fully enjoy and consume this book. Mumy’s narrative does well to introduce the numerous elements that new readers might be ignorant of and, in fact, might even entice new fans to the series.