I was rewarded for taking a chance on a science fiction horror series last month as I binged on issue #1 and #2 of Disciples. The fact that I questioned if it’d be good or not is insane considering Steve Niles is probably the best horror comic book writer today. I take a look at this week’s issue to ponder…is it good?
Disciples #3 (Black Mask Studios)
Last issue we followed three bounty hunter types who are on the trail of a girl that needs to be brought back alive. The trail has led them to a cult built on one of the moons of Jupiter. Unfortunately they lost a man to a very creepy slug creature, encountered a freaky naked lady with a baby floating out of its uterus and generally have had a terrible time. But they trek on. A little nuts I know but they take their jobs seriously. This issue opens with the two remaining hunters exploring the now empty church cult grounds. What will they find?!
Step away from the worm!
It’s immediately obvious that Steve Niles knows how to set up and play with atmosphere. This issue is all about a brooding sense of despair and a threat that’s constantly growing and getting worse. There are small reveals, but as a reader we know they are adding up and far worse than the characters realize. This creates a sense of tension that puts the reader on edge and it’s delectable.
I’m sure many of you will cry foul when the characters get split up. Horror cliches aside it does work to create necessary tension and give one character more information than the other. With these discoveries come some frightening things, some rather captivating elements and finally something to further complicate the plot. Some might say it’s not the most surprising cliffhanger, but I’ll take it.
My only gripe would be the lack of story progression. There are many small moments, but nothing that pushes the characters too much. This might in part feel like a transition issue because of some of the horror tropes at play, but it never felt like a 100% necessary read for the casual reader.
The art by Christopher Mitten continues to look fantastic and I love his little magical flourishes when the horror elements go poof. The emptiness of the church is very much on display here and a two page spread of all the horrors is quite a site. Overall he captures the essence of the atmospheric moments impeccably and without his deft hand it’d all fall flat.
Is It Good?
This is a good issue largely due to great atmosphere and a quiet resolve that’ll keep you on edge.