Writer: John Layman
Artist: Afu Chan
Publisher: Image Comics
Rating: 9/10 Bloodthirsty Demons
We are truly in a Golden Age for creator owned comics. You pick up any book from, say, Image and you’ll be rewarded with a solid story.
One that I don’t think gets enough attention is OUTER DARKNESS by writer John Layman (of CHEW fame) and artist Afu Chan.
My fifteen second elevator pitch for this comic is this: it’s R-rated Star Trek with a higher body count. Okay that took less than fifteen seconds but my point still stands. That description doesn’t do this creative as hell 28th century sci-fi book justice.
A trip into the OUTER DARKNESS is something you’ll have to experience for yourself.
So come take a ride on the Charon (the spacecraft), where a brooding, pugnacious alcoholic is the captain, a soul eating demon powers the engine and everyone wants to kills each other.
That’s not even half of it.
Sci-fi and magic come together to create a story that takes no prisoners. No-one is safe. Nobody is to be trusted. One wrong turn and you’ll get stabbed in the back, blown apart in space or ripped apart by ice monsters on frozen planets.
Thanks to Afu Chan’s art and colors, the visuals in this book pop. Plain and simple, the art is alluring to look at. Everything is bright, vivid and has character. Each human, alien or monster has it’s own unique design and personality.
Oh, speaking of characters—this book has a lot of them. A lot. Joshua Rigg is the grizzled captain who everyone hates. Malachai Reno is the ship’s leading exorcist. Sato Shin may or may not be housing a bloodthirsty demon inside him. The Crone (who sometimes turns into The Beauty) is the ship’s oracle. Then there’s Gallu, a demon that runs the ship. That’s not even everyone in the book.
I want an issue (or two) on all of the side characters. Each one has potential to hold their own story. That’s why I feel that Layman and Chan are in this for the long run. Based on seven issues alone, I know that there’s a lot more story to tell.
Design is everything in this book. If you buy the single issues, notice how each one is designed to look like a mission file. You flip the book open and see that the inner cover has a title, destination, coordinates and ship fuel levels. It makes me feel that Layman and Chan are going all-out with design details.
This book comes out on a monthly basis. There’s plenty of time to catch up since it’s only seven issues in. A trade collects the first six issues and the (*hopefully*) friendly people at your comic shop can hook you up with the recent issue.
If you’re looking for a vivid, grimy and action-filled sci-fi book that will keep you on your toes, OUTER DARKNESS is where it’s at.