ADVANCED REVIEW: ALIENS: Dead Orbit #1

Our treasured Xenomorph will raise its fiendish head once again, with the ever looming promise of tormenting any being within its reach.  James Stokoe’s (Orc Stain, Godzilla: The Half-Century War) four issue miniseries will fulfill a personal lifelong dream to create a new chapter in the Alien universe.  Stokoe will assume all creative roles with this effort as Writer and Artist while Geof Darrow created a fantastic variant for this inaugural issue.

As the battered Weyland-Yutani space station Sphacteria maintains high orbit around the gas giant planet, U.P. Pylus, they are encroached upon by an unknown vessel.  As the team investigates the seemingly abandoned ship their trepidation fuels an accident that forces them toward a path that will compromise the mission indefinitely.  However, this story takes place post the loss of the team as we find the lone surviving member existing in a slowly deteriorating environment.  The last remaining member of the crew, Wascylewski, maintains the entire ship, alone and on constant vigil from the terror we have yet to see.  His mind has been skewed and tempered by the experiences on the abandoned ship, which seemingly have compromised his ability to recognize reality.  Is he being hunted or is he tormented by his own mind?  Sometimes a mind damaged by terror is more grim than any creature imaginable.  This four issue miniseries promises to be one heck of a ride.

I applaud Stokoe’s attempt at generating a true Alien aesthetic which has only truly been realized on-screen.  Typically, we are spoiled with hearing and experiencing the hissing of the antagonist, and the screams of terror which have always contributed to this experience.  Stokoe keeps you ensconced in the dread driven undertones by creating fantastic environments, and panels that echo effects that lend realism for the specific tone which most Alien stories require.  Although you may not see the alien in this issue, Stokoe drives this short miniseries with great and quick character development wherein I truly cared for our main protagonist.  The last splash page will have you slinking into your seat as a familiar grin will enter Stokoe’s exciting tale of Aliens Dead Orbit.  This was a fantastic read, The background art was intricate which lent to a very claustrophobic feel, and the character design was innovative.  The writing was spot on, although most of the issue was our protagonist alone, I was able to interpret perfectly what Stokoe was portraying.  I think it will be a challenge to tell the story I would like to read in only four issues, but that means we will not get any “filler” issues.  I look forward to the remaining issues, I give issue #1 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Writer:James Stokoe, Artist:James Stokoe, Cover Artist: James Stokoe

On sale on Alien Day: 4/26/17!

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