ADVANCE REVIEW: Aliens: Deadly Orbit #1

0
Posted March 24, 2017 by Chad Waller in Comic Books

Written by: James Stokoe

Art by: James Stokoe

Publisher: Dark Horse

Editor’s note: This is an advanced review. Aliens: Deadly Orbit releases April 26, 2017 (Alien Day) FOC March 27, 2017.

The problem with the modern Xenomorph is that he’s no longer scary. Between the movies, video games, and even comics, the terror has now worn off and been replaced by a gentle fondness. The Xenomorph is badass. The Xenomorph is beautiful. My bedroom is filled with Neca alien figures because I’m terrified of women (they have cooties).

The problem with modern space-horror is that even when it’s different, it all wants to start the same. Someone finds a thing that screams danger from a mile away, curiosity kills the cat, and the rest is a history fiction writers are only too willing to repeat. Something something doom.

I mean, how not scary does Alien: Covenant look, and how obvious is the ending to Life?

This is my roundabout, spoiler free way to say that Aliens: Deadly Orbit #1 is at its core, a perfectly serviceable beginning to an Aliens story, though not a particularly unique one. At this point, I’m not sure if paying homage to the original Alien is cute or cliché, but I’m getting just a hair sick of it. If I wanted to watch Alien, I’d go throw in my crappy DVD of it because I’m too cheap to buy the blu ray box set.

There’s nothing wrong here. I like the cast well enough—even if I can’t remember anyone’s name—and I like the little bait-and-switch at the end, but nothing is jumping out at me. This isn’t Aliens: Defiance which took all of the big ideas from Aliens and gave them a gentle 45 degree twist.

At least not yet.

The sales pitch for Aliens: Deadly Orbit reminds me of the gameplay to Alien: Isolation, and the thing about horror is that it doesn’t work unless the reader cares about the main character. If that’s what the first issue is going to do, then I guess I’m willing to wait this out in the long term. I don’t know James Stokoe, but I do know Dark Horse. I trust them.

Now, what I will praise here is the artwork. The style itself isn’t new and in fact reminds me of the very old Dark Horse Alien books, but it’s one I haven’t seen in quite some time and one I like to boot. It’s very bright and very detailed, with lots of motion to it. It helps that Mr. Stokoe does some very clever things with his paneling. Anything halfway mechanical looks amazing, and anything grotesquely biological looks pretty darn brutal.

I look forward to the upcoming bloodbath.

Aliens: Deadly Orbit #1

Aliens: Deadly Orbit #1

7

Final Score

7/10

    Pros

    • Artwork is sublime
    • It’s taking the time to get me to like the cast
    • Some nice nods to Alien, even if they feel obligatory at this point

    Cons

    • At this point, it hasn’t tread any new ground
    • The Xenomorph is no longer scary, meaning horror books with it don’t always work



    About the Author

    Chad Waller

    Chad Waller is the cofounder of Dual Wield Software, a two-man video game company working on their first game, The Regret of Vitrerran. He also likes to write, preferring fiction and poetry, but also the occasional book review or video game essay. You can follow him on Twitter @DualWieldSoft and find his company page on Facebook with a quick search.