Saturday, May 27, 2017

Aliens: Dead Orbit #2 Review and **Spoilers**

Dead or Alive

Writer: James Stokoe
Artist: James Stokoe
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: May 24th, 2017
Cover Price: $3.99

I find it hard to express just how much of an absolute gem I found the first issue of James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit and just how excited I have been waiting and anticipating reading this second issue. After what feels like months when I finally got this issue in my hands and didn’t hesitate before jumping into this issue head first. Now I want to do the exact same thing with this review.

We kick off with Wascylowski presumably right after the previous issue now running from the Xenomorph. As he runs and gets behind a closed door it’s worth noting that he is visibly empty handed and he has left behind the object that he was previously taking with him in an attempt to solve the warning message he was getting accompanied by a countdown clock. As he now seems safe and is able to take a breath he notices he is now in the same room as a dead body as we are now reminded of the countdown as it drifts us into a flashback.

I just want to take this moment to express how much I absolutely love the art in this book. Although this issue isn’t as insanely over detailed as the first issue (I don’t think anyone could keep that art up with any kind of regular pace) the style, tone, and coloring all blends together in an absolutely to notch sense of atmosphere. I said it with the first issue and I say it again now, I think this book is worth getting for the art alone. It does the 80’s style furturistic look like nothing I’ve seen outside of manga literally from the 80’s.

When we head off into the flashback it also picks up shortly after the flashback from the previous issue. With Wascylowski’s ship crew now attempting to attend to the crew of the ship they found in their broken cryofreezers. Things aren’t going exactly great. They seem to have gotten them back on their ship and gotten them sedated. The whole task has seemed to take its toll on the doctor as he snaps on the captain and reiterates just how bad of shape these people are.

With things calmed down a bit the crew heads off to figure out exactly what they’re dealing with. The craft seems to be for running cargo as they took better notes when it came to money than they did concerning just about anything else. With this information they find out there should be more crew, but not much else before things start going crazy again.

They head off the medical bay as the cargo ships crew seems to be experiencing excruciating pain. They make a note of the amount of sedatives they should be under, but it’s not long before it gets to the point and we end up with two full on chestburster’s making their way out of the med bay. This is another scene where the art really reminds me of manga. We get so much of the dread and fear through lines in the art that resembles Manga a lot. You get the heat-like waves coming off the main crew to convey fear or dread. Or you get the strong lines coming off the action to greater convey the action. This art just continues to be amazing.

With the chestburster’s escaping the med bay we head off back to the current time with Wascylowski looking to gain his composure before he heads back to get the mechanism he left behind. Once on his way, and nearly there, the ship takes a Gravity-esque turn as part of the ship start to fall off causing a breach in the ship. With it losing oxygen fast Wassy is in a bit of trouble before he is able to close off the hatch leading to the exposed area. The only bad thing is that it looks to me like the mechanism went with it, and most of all he loses consciousness at the absolute worst time.

I continue to unconditionally love this book almost entirely due to the art. It does a lot to convey a sense of dread and claustrophobia that completely raises the story up to an extra level along with it. I do feel the current side of the story was a little less conveying due to the convenient timing of the ship falling apart and the transition between timelines was a little less clean, but honestly wouldn’t knock it too much as I still found it greatly enjoyable.
Bits and Pieces:

While not as tightly wound narratively as the previous issue, the amazing art along with the overall sense of dread and claustrophobia has me still digging this book.



  1. Wassy taped the case to his chest. He still has it.

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