• Pariah #1

    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: February 26, 2014

    Picking up right when they’ve realized everything has gone wrong a group of “vitros” - genetically-engineered teenage geniuses - is trapped on an old space station, cut off from Earth entirely. But they soon realize that it’s all a trap to get rid of an inconvenient problem: All of them.

    Herman Toulane is the primary voice of narration in the story, detailing how he volunteered for what was supposed to be a training mission for them. Problems at home made this an easy choice for him. But as the situation begins to deteriorate in the space station, he sees just how much really hasn’t changed as bickering over procedure, leadership and priorities is just as bad here.

    Joining a fellow named Marks they begin to examine the engineering details of the space station, trying to decipher them as best (and quickly) as they can. It’s clear that this place was never meant to sustain life as all the systems are nearly done for. Self-appointed leader Lila sets them all about fixing these issues but, then, the station’s orbital thrusters kick in, pushing the station into an orbit that will basically cook everyone alive inside.

    Marks and math-genius Samantha soon figure out a plan, though: They can use the old rocket fuel still aboard to manufacture explosives to counteract the thrusters and at least keep them alive. They have to find the precise spot for placement and timing of detonation and it soon becomes clear that the only way to do this is by placing these outside the station. Herman, resigned to his fate and fed up with life just repeating itself, volunteers and heads outside.

    He knows he’s in pain but puts that aside, waiting for Sam to tell him where to place the charges and set them off. By the time this is done, though, everyone knows that this is to be a one-way trip for Herman, something he’s actually okay with. So as he sets the charges and detonates, he’s able to honestly smile in defiance at the world that was just as assuredly killing him…

    Safe for now, Lila has her enforcers retrieve Hyde, the one of their number who seems to be more on the know and despite being untrustworthy they now have to address the host of other critical problems facing all of them.

    Based on a story from Aaron Warner and written by Philip Gelatt the story is well-paced and told quite well, with these unique characters expressing commonalities that make them identifiable instantly. Brett Weldele’s artwork is pretty stunning here, going with a watercolor-type of approach, giving their environs the extra-worldly aspect it really needs. Very well done for a first issue and I’m looking forward to how they push this story ahead.