Delta 13 #2
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Nat Jones
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
The space exploration crew we met in the last issue is investigating the inside of a mysterious asteroid in Delta 13 #2, and they must do so in person after their rover suddenly goes dark. After going through a strange door, they come across their rover with…something…growing all over it. When they talk about getting the heck out of there, one of the crew finds the strangest discovery yet: an unconscious, naked woman with the same strange growth around her. The crew debates leaving her, but ultimately they decide naked people and the vacuum of space don’t mix well and bring her aboard, despite the protestations of some. Did they just bring their doom aboard?
In my last review, I said that sci-fi horror is one of my favorite genres when done well, which it unfortunately isn’t a lot of the time. I feel like a lot of sci-fi horror relies on the template that Alien set all those years ago where a ragtag group of space explorers brings on board a mysterious being, and it ends up ripping everything apart.
Delta 13 doesn’t stray too far from that formula, but for now, I’m still interested to see the direction it’s taking. There’s definitely a drawn-out feel to getting to the scary parts of the story, but this issue definitely upped the creepiness factor compared to the first installment. There’s already a sense of isolation and coldness that is prevalent in both issues, and then we get to the woman who shouldn’t be there in an asteroid that shouldn’t be there, and it all feels eerie and uncanny. So where a lot of Alien copies tend to have a sort of comfortable spaceship and crew that gets along beginning, this feels desolate, and the mystery woman makes it all that more unforgiving.
Part of what creates that isolation and coldness is the mostly monotonous coloring to the art. It’s still got that TV-left-on-at-night tone (and Poltergeist showed us that’s never a good thing), and the minimalistic artwork is unsettling in the right way at times.
Verdict: Wait and see.
Delta 13 #2 is an improvement from the first issue, but the sense of formulaic storytelling and slow-to-reveal horror makes me slightly hesitate to start recommending this. I get the sense this will work better as a trade, but we’ll see where issue three takes us. But dang the covers are awesome.