Oni Press 2020
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Andy MacDonald
Coloured by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Crank!
Salvage vessel Cortes tracks the Lonely Orphan, a planet with no star system to call its own. Somewhere on this hostile rock is a payload fit for a king. To attain it, though, the crew of the Cortes must brave razor rock, poisonous vapors, treacherous footing, and… the most mind-numbing horrors imaginable. Something nightmarish is at work on Lonely Orphan. Something cruel. Something hungry.
Oh this is amazing people. Cullen starts this off with a brief look at the characters before charging full-steam ahead into the madness. I have to say so far the man, Cullen, hasn’t done something that I haven’t found to be one of the best things I am reading. He is also just bringing back horror comics in a big way which we need to see more and yes I mean of this calibre. Because what we see here is a combination of what we know and the introduction of the unknown and when they meet things get tense, exciting and terrifying.
The way that this is being told is utterly brilliant. The story & plot development we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented perfectly. This isn’t anything near what I was expecting to see and I am so utterly thankful for that. That Cullen skates things up and shows this kind of versatility in how he crafts a story is just another reason that he’s my go to guy. The character development is interesting as well and while it is just establishing these characters and we’re starting to get a sense for them is extremely well executed. We already see character traits emerging and it will be interesting to see how they grow and evolve as the story moves forward. The pacing is fantastic and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way it shows how all of this works together to create the books ebb & flow.
The opening of this book had me. I was glued to the page and then seeing the cast being introduced I was so engaged in what was happening that my mind was racing. I really do love how immediately the reader becomes engaged in the story and how unexpected the events we see happen are. Also it is nice to be surprised and thrilled by a book just because it isn’t what you expect.
The interiors here are absolutely stunning to behold. I am in awe of how we see the linework and it’s varying weights being utilised to bring out the attention to detail. It isn’t just the varying weights either because there are a myriad of techniques being utilised here as well which just brings this older feel and vibe to the work. Which is absolutely delightful to see. The way we see backgrounds being utilised here is phenomenal as well as how they work within the panels to bring out the depth perception, scale and the overall sense of size and scope of the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a remarkable eye for storytelling. The colour work we see is divine! That all the definition we see in the crystals is thanks to how it’s coloured is brilliantly rendered. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is gorgeous stuff.
The concept, the story and how this is being executed is beyond anything I could have hoped for. The name of the book and what it means and how it’s seen well I gotta admit it is a new one for me. Cullen is a modern master when it comes to storytelling and the interiors from Andy and Nick are mindbogglingly good. What a spectacular way to come back from the Stay At Home orders.