• Aliens Dead Orbit #3

    Aliens Dead Orbit #3
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: July 19th, 2017.
    Written & Illustrated by: James Stokoe
    Purchase From Amazon

    When this third issue begins, Wasclewski is cocooned in the hull of the ship, a pair of aliens hissing in his direction not too far from where he lies trapped. When he notices Captain Hassan cocooned just a few feet away, we flashback and find out how this all happened.

    As Wasclewski and the others patrol the ship, an alien pulled Torrenson into the duct where it was hiding, leaving Wasclewski, Park and Harrow powerless to save him. Knowing that Hassan is gone, the three run as quickly as they can. They regroup, scared that first they lost Rook and now Hassan, but intent on figuring out where the bugs are coming from. If they properly sealed off the main areas by the deck then they must be coming from the sub-decks, possibly from over by engineering. Torrenson wonders aloud how the xenomorphs got so big so quickly. Park figures that if they can find where the aliens are hiding, maybe they can get their people back.

    Torrenson has another idea. He wants to gather up supplies and wait in the scavenger’s ship for rescue. Before Rook was taken he did send out the alert, and even if it takes three months, Torrenson would rather do this than face the aliens. Obviously he and Park get into it. Once things cool down a bit, she talks Wasclewski and Torrenson into heading to the medical bay to check on Harrow. When they arrive, they find Harrow with a knife to his throat, one of the women from the other ship having awoken in a rather nasty mood and now wanting to find the rest of her crew. She mutters about an infection, a dead colony – she’s unhappy that Wasclewski and the others woke them up, they were frozen for a reason but before the conversation can go much further, Torrenson attacks her.

    This won’t end well for anybody…

    This third issue of writer/artist James Stokoe’s Aliens series is the best one yet, a tense and genuinely horrifying new story set in the well-established AVP world with some interesting and believable human characters once again stuck in a rather dire situation. It’s interesting to see as all of this plays out who has the survivalist instinct and who caves under pressure. It’s not always who you think it will be and it happens in ways that are both realistic and unexpected. There’s some seriously good storytelling going on here and just when you think that the recent proliferation of Aliens and related comics from Dark Horse are getting to be a bit much, this series comes along and knocks you on your ass.

    Not only is the writing tense, gripping and engrossing but the artwork is amazing, mind-blowing even. Stokoe’s style is clearly influenced by all manner of manga work but he’s got his own distinct thing going on here. In a lot of ways it is an atypical look for an Aliens story, kind of like Sam Kieth’s work on Aliens: Earth War way back in 1990, but like Kieth’s work in fits the tone of the story perfectly. There’s an insane amount of detail in every one of Stokoe’s panels and the layouts are very cinematic, conveying a palpable sense of horror and dread but also bringing the action to life with an appreciable sense of movement. Seriously amazing stuff, bring on issue #4.