While the Alien film franchise continues to expand, so does its comic book counterpart. Published by Dark Horse Comics, Aliens: Dead Orbit is the latest series crafting a story around Xenomorphs and the doomed space crews that encounter them. The series, now on its second issue, is a product of James Stokoe (Orc Stain) who is responsible for its story, art and lettering.
The first two issues follow Wascylewski, the Engineering Officer for a Weyland-Yutani way station called Sphacteria. Seemingly alone on the partially destroyed ship, the story jumps back and forth through time giving us glimpses of what led to the crew’s demise. Peppered with familiar notes and iconic franchise moments, each panel proves Stokoe’s knowledge and respect of the source material while also showcasing his skill and competence as a writer.
Previously unfamiliar with his work, I was immediately drawn to the first issue’s incredibly detailed and beautifully colored cover art. While every panel is a work of art, it’s in the splashes that Stokoe’s creativity and attention to detail really shine. While reading I found myself lost in each splash wishing for poster-sized versions of every piece.
The largely purple, red and yellow color palette seems almost vibrant set against the heavy black of space. And while that stark blackness begins to creep in on the edges of each claustrophobic and isolated panel, the brilliant reds of blood splatter occasionally cut through to remind you that there’s still something lurking in the darkness.
Fans of the Alien series will no doubt find something to love within the pages of Dead Orbit, and I would highly encourage any fan of comics or horror in general to pick up a copies and give them a try.