It’s finally here folks! Dark Horse has teamed up with the supremely talented writer/illustrator James Stokoe to bring us Aliens: Dead Orbit. The story takes place on the Sphacteria, a Weyland-Yutani fuel depot/waystation in a remote far off piece of wilderness space. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on issue #1.
Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Dark Horse’s synopsis:
After a horrific accident strikes a space station, an engineering officer must use all available tools—a timer, utility kit, and his wits—to survive an attack from the deadliest creature known to man.
Stokoe writes, pencils and colors Dead Orbit. This guy sure does wear a lot of hats. Impressed yet?
The story thus far
We’re immediately introduced to engineering officer Wasclyweski, a chain-smoking lone crew member aboard a derelict space station. Through a series of flashbacks we quickly learn that Wasclyweski wasn’t always the only crew member. As you progress through the issue, fog shrouding his lone circumstance slowly starts to dissipate and it becomes easier to fill in the holes around what happened to the rest of the crew.
The art creates feelings of anxiety, confinement and claustrophobia. The atmosphere is a noted point of focus through the issue; environments are dark, cold, and filled with shadows that hold a suspenseful tone. There’s a very distinct feeling of isolation present, which is exactly how I felt the first time watching Alien. So even though the title pulls from Aliens, I’m definitely feeling a much stronger connection to where it all started for this franchise.
One look at the incredible attention detail present in this issue is all you need to see what’s special about Stokoe’s work here. I was blown away by each and every panel–the execution is near flawless. The cover art is so impressive that my first reaction on seeing it was a strong urge to have it framed and hung on my wall, which is exactly what I’ll be doing after I purchase it. The issue could have been a heaping pile of garbage and I’d still recommend you go buy it for the artwork alone.
As I turned the pages of this book I was reminded of watching a basketball player have one of those insane 70 point games, where no matter what the other team does, the guy is just in a zone and he can’t be stopped. Stokoe is without question in the zone.
Stokoe’s take on Aliens brings the reader back to the franchises’ horror roots. As you progress through this issue, you’ll fondly recall the anxiety and terror you felt in watching Ripley fight for survival as her friends and crew perished in front of her.
The artwork is the substance of the issue. It’s incredibly detailed, has dark gritty, almost manga feel to it and brings this sci-fi horror tale to life. Stokoe is truly among the best at what he does, and that’s creating great comic books. It would be a disservice to yourself as a comic fan to miss this story.
Now go pre-order this book.