Black Mask Studios 2015
Created & Written by Steve Niles
Created & Illustrated by Christopher Mitten
Coloured by Jay Fotos
Well we’ve seen things that have no real explanation already and aboard the ship when that thing came out of Rick, how did it get there?, to landing here and finding no one around but another parasitic type entity that cannot seemingly survive without a host. Very quickly however they find a graveyard with one plot empty but prepared meaning at least one person is still alive, or are they?
When we see the graves and the city in the background with Jules and Dagmar in their space suits it’s such an amazingly powerful image and it definitely gives you the creeps and a whole lot foreboding that something immensely bad is going to happen. All from one single image, oh and the fact that well we are talking about Steve Niles writing this.
The way the tension of this story unfolds before us as the pair roam the city and find signs of a struggle with blood and smashed equipment and then seeing someone so they end up splitting up instead of getting the hell out of there is brilliantly done. Then when Dagmar finds the control room and Christopher and Jay give us that two page spread on the monitor screens the horror of the situation really hits home.
With Jules in the tunnels below disturbing something that seems beautiful has a very different effect up top where the bodies are buried. While Dagmar finds the Reverand and Lisa Richmond who is ready to give birth at any moment. When asking who did this she relies on Lisa’s answer but it’s unclear to Dagmar who she means when she says “it was THEM.”
While we have some of those answers thanks to Jules what has happened is something quite expected and rather unexpected at the same time. Honestly I was expecting some alien life form to be the culprit here and that they had disturbed these creatures and this was the penalty for that and in some way that’s accurate but not how anyone would expect. Steve has this way of creating a story that while you know what could happen it is able to present it in a way that’s fresh, exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
There really isn’t a much better modern horror storyteller out there than Steve Niles and that he can get into these characters lives whom we never know if they will survive and make us care about them and then watch as he puts them through paces that are completely different from what we thought they’d be is amazing to experience.
Christopher’s interior work is fantastic in helping tell this story so effectively. That he can go from detailed backgrounds to none at all and make it seem natural and eerie so that Jay’s colouring just is amazing at bringing that to life. The orange space suit is bright and the monitor light is also bright balances out with the gray wash tones of then being on another planet and in outer space. The overall effect is superb in creating this whole crazy experience and giving you this unsettling feeling. The whole book with it’s unsettling feelings is something that you don’t get much and that’s why this is so good.
Powerfully told and infinitely creepy this series is one that you need to take a look at.