Horror comics just don’t come around enough these days, especially ones with a strong sense of pace and timing. Add to that the science fiction persuasion and you have me hook line and sinker without even opening the book. I take a look at a new horror comic from Black Mask and answer the question, is it good?
Disciples #2 (Black Mask Studios)
I honestly can say if you haven’t read the first issue no worries. Go order it via your favorite comic provider if you want, but you won’t need it to enjoy this book. That said, the first book has plenty of great character development and one horrific cliffhanger. This issue opens where the cliffhanger left us, but with a repeat of the final image. Instead we get the characters’ fear and reaction after seeing it. It’s so gosh darn horrific I don’t want to ruin it, but lets just say there’s an open orifice and a baby involved.
Writer Steve Niles opens this book with the characters hugely afraid and looking for the monster/thing/whatever it is, that they knew they just saw. The characters are on a mission to find a girl who was kidnapped. The destination is a moon of Jupiter where a religious cult has created a church. The characters aren’t quite sure what they saw and neither are we and yet they’re still in awe of the beauty of outer space. They come upon the moon and get a little bit closer to finishing their mission. They think. Along the way horrific things happen, an encounter with a creature takes place and some science fiction things happen.
It’s very safe to say Niles has a great handle on this genre. We don’t need to be pelted with gore every other panel, but instead a well placed scare, ominous panel or two and strong characters propel the fear factor. There’s also the very scary idea of a church with deep dark secrets involved that get under my skin. You might as well call them a cult, and when when you combine that with science fiction, monsters and some interesting twists you’ve got solid gold on your hands.
Meanwhile the art by Christopher Mitten is flat out gorgeous. It has a sketchy sort of feel to it that reminds me of Riley Rossmo’s work on Green Wake. There’s a lot of inking when it counts which helps imbue a sense of dread. The guy knows how to draw space though, with some beautiful imagery in this issue showcasing the epic nature of space. It at once sets the mood that the human characters are very small and very much not in control of their fates. How can you be with giant floating orbs watching over our tiny little selves?
On top of all this I really love how Mitten draws technology. There are no straight lines—not perfect ones anyway—which give everything a bit of an organic look and feel. This makes what should be a solid, safe space station creepy in a way. This of course is due to the color work by Jay Fotos as well which has a sickly sort of green and blue tinge to everything. Combined what we have here is an epic look to a comic very much due to some knowing hands crafting something special.
Epic and pretty.
Is It Good?
Without a doubt the creepiest comic I’ve read this year. Everything comes together to make a truly haunting experience with an ever present feeling of crushing space dread.