Cover: A spectacular alien vista graces the cover of this book. Created by Bob Eggleton this has the look of a classic painting from science fiction’s past, but it’s an all new piece. Under two moons, three spacemen makes their way through a moss covered ancient alien metropolis. The look of the structures is fantastic with them towering over the humans. They’re so large that one can see waterfalls issuing from them. Cutting between the structures and the astronauts is a distant flock of white bird-like creatures. The coloring is also terrific with the greens creating a sense of normalcy in the foliage, though their structure is obviously not. The astronauts clad in white are an abnormal addition to the scene. This is terrific. Overall grade: A+
Story: Omaha Perez has created an excellent science fiction story that creates both wonder and fear. A ship has had to settle on an alien world to survive. They’re intergalactic miners and the planet they’ve found is a Super Terre, a “super Earth” — a planet with a larger mass than Earth that has an environment suitable for human life. The book opens with a team exploring the alien ruins. Naturally the captain’s orders are reiterated: stay together. That’s when engineer Jorge Ramirez hears something and moves off on his own. He goes into a structure and encounters a cat sized robot. Thinking it to be a maintenance bot, he throws some rubble next to it and watches it scoop up the debris. Any fan of space stories or horror will have two thoughts running through their mind: 1, don’t leave the group and, 2, don’t fool around with alien technology, especially a robot — no matter its size. It’s the most elementary setup in the world, but Perez makes it gold. Naturally something occurs, but not what the reader was expecting. The group returns to headquarters to meet with the captain and discuss Ramriez’s absence. What happens to Ramirez soon happens to others, but Perez is not going to tell this story in a linear fashion. There are flashbacks where conflicts with the crew are shown as well as how they ended up on this world. The characters are very strong, with Dee McCabe being the voice of sanity as the ship’s psychologist, Captain Booth is not confident in his own decisions since he’s just a flyboy who’s logged the most hours, Phillip McCabe (Dee’s husband) fears his relationship with his wife is crumbling, Jones is the sexist pig miner, Julia the Bible quoting doomsayer, and Davies the ship’s planetologist who seems to be more interested in the alien surroundings than his peers. There are several other characters, but these are the leads. Each advances the plot as characters are murdered and the dwellings slowly reveal their ancient hidden history. The reveal of the antagonist is genuinely surprising as is the crew’s fate. This delivers the delights and dangers of a classic science fiction tale. Overall grade: A+
Art: There are five chapters in this massive 150 paged tome. The first chapter is illustrated by Greg Hinkle, who also created the back cover, and Tony Talbert who did chapters 2 – 5. Both men have created some drop dead gorgeous work in glorious black and white. Hinkle gets to introduce the reader to the characters and all have their own unique look, making them easy to tell apart for the reader. The design of the alien civilization is staggering. It’s both aged and unearthly. It gave me the same sense of wonder the first time I looked upon the classic work of Wally Wood from EC Comics’ books. The attention to detail is staggering. The double-paged spread of Pages 2 and 3 is jaw dropping and more than worth the cover price alone. The attention to detail is also strong when something violent happens, and it does indeed occur. Hinkle also does an excellent job with the futuristic tech of the humans, getting to draw their ship and land on the alien world. Talbert’s work is equally strong, with his visuals looking similar to the work of Moebius. His art absolutely takes the reader on a trip to a place they’re never seen, with the paintings on walls stunning and the flashbacks to the alien civilizations mesmerizing. The views of the past have all the exotic wonder of Richard Corben’s work. I would have been happy if the story had just followed the one individual who decides to investigate the planet, the visuals were so beautiful. And just as the reader is lost in the splendor of the settings, the horror reappears to remind one that this is not a safe world. This is the way all science fiction stories should be illustrated. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Every fan of science fiction and the terrors of space should pick this up. This makes one wish for space travel to be possible, yet fearful of what it may reveal. Recommended. Overall grade: A+
NOTE: This comes out in September, so if you’re interested you should alert your retailer now.
To find out more about Devil’s Due comics go to http://www.devilsdue.net/
To find out more about 1First Comics go to http://www.1firstcomics.com/