Aliens: Dead Orbit #1
Writer/Artist/Letterer: James Stokoe
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
Alien is a massively successful franchise, as if you need me to say that. Every April 26th is Alien Day, which we here at Rogues Portal wholeheartedly celebrated last year (insert shameless site promotion HERE). Now, just in time for this year’s Alien Day, Dark Horse Comics are releasing the first issue of their newest Alien based comic miniseries Aliens: Dead Orbit #1.
Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 takes place after a horrific, but as of right now, mysterious accident strikes a space station and an engineering officer must use all the tools available to him to survive. What must he survive against? The deadliest creature known to man: the Xenomorph.
In the vast amount of Alien media you can get, what does Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 have to offer? Much like the first movie that started it all, Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 is looking to freak you out. It takes a horror approach as opposed to one that’s more action packed. The story is very isolating, a solitary character against the Xenomorph threat. It’s dark and claustrophobic, relaying on strategically placed flashbacks to get across the tension. At this point, we all know about Xenomorphs. We’ve seen them everywhere for decades. And while they’ve become so omnipresent in media, there’s still such a sense of dread Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 and that’s definitely impressive.
The art of Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 is so ridiculously detailed. It’s honestly insane how detailed this comic is. Every pipe in the ceiling, every air vent along the walls, every cable, cord, and button literally anywhere a cable, cord or button could be, all individual rendered. There’s a cloud of steam in the last few panels of this comic that’s so beautiful in its detail. Along with all the details, Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 has a very coolly toned comic. Blue is the main colour, making it shadowy and foreboding. And then when warm tones come in, it creates a great sense of urgency or a detail you should focus on.
The one thing that falls a little flat are the character faces, which, quite literally, fall flat. There’s not really a sense of depth to the people, so any panels that focus on characters took me out of the experience just a little as I tried to ignore the slight lopsided-ness of faces. But with the amount of details included, the beautiful colouring, and the alien (which is badass as ever with Stokoe’s art), the comic doesn’t suffer for the character models.
Check it out! Taking the isolated, horror tone of the original movie (which, as much as I love Aliens, the franchise is at its best when it’s horror) and adding some of the most detailed and striking art I’ve seen recently, Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 has my interest piqued for more Xenomorph related spooks and scares!
Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 hits comic book stores this Alien Day (April 26th, 2017).