Black Mask Studios 2015
Created & Written by Steve Niles
Created & Illustrated by Christopher Mitten
Coloured by Jay Fotos
Oh my the way this issue starts off got me extremely excited. It’s like this combination of ghosts possessing dead bodies and turning them into zombies that can talk. I liked for more than that as well after all the landing party was there to help not seek and destroy and yet the natural inhabitants of the planet were unknown to the settlers. Naturally anything could be considered an invasive species when introduced to a new environment and the settlers being that inadvertently killed them.
Not interested in working with anyone only for the continuation of their species they retaliated and killed the settlers with the exception of those Dagamar found. The pregnant girl well let’s save that for later and it turns out though the Priest wasn’t responsible for her condition. It still raises a whole lot of questions about man’s exploration of space and how arrogant we are as a species that our own needs are paramount to what would or could be living elsewhere. By that token trying to colonize another planet without seeming to do due diligence has resulted in what we see here.
Granted our own technology is only so far advanced and this species might not have been able to be detected. Hence the whole them versus us mentality and the resulting need for using them to survive. Still it makes for some fantastic reading and seeing the result when humans are used as prey well Christopher really makes an impact there. I feel like i’m watching any good Sci-Fi/zombie/horror flick when reading this.
The revelation of who and what is inside the girl gestating to term at of course the most inopportune time only heightens the drama of the story Steve’s telling. I will say the action here as the issue ends gets a little clean cut and happens too quickly but then this isn’t really the end of the story Dagamar only thinks it is. These beings and what they can do haven’t been explored yet and i’m hoping that we’ll see just how deadly and invasive to humans they can be. After all one of her own was infected with one in the opening pages of the first issue, now how could that have happened?
I think one of the most impressive things about this is how Steve’s been laying the groundwork for the story. There’s misdirection, flashbacks and subtle uses of Christopher and Jay’s work to tell more than what we get. It does have more of this cinematic feel to it with outer space scope and the aliens we have met. Plus the characterization has been superb as well and you know when the character dies and you’re upset it’s well written. Who’s death, when it happens and why well that why we read the story.
I find this book seriously unique and innovative while being familiar to me. There’s this old school feel to it and yet it’s completely modern and now.