In Review: Outer Darkness #10

Excellent story that makes the reader question everything shown.

The cover: Captain Joshua Rigg’s eyes have gone completely white. There’s a large scar on the left side of his forehead. His mouth is open and a vine from a plant emerges from it and winds around him. The flowers that are on the vine are blue colored skulls. Also on the vines are the heads of Reno, Hydzek, Prakash, Agwe, and the Crone. Their heads are colored in white with blue shading to match the skull flowers. Rigg has been colored with a rosy tint. This is a bizarre cover from Afu Chan. It teases much about this issue without revealing a thing. Creepy, to say the least. Overall grade: A

The story: This is an extremely clever beginning from writer John Layman. The Charon is speeding its way through space. The scene setting states this as “Today.” However, just below it is an equal sized panel that shows the ship floating dead in space. It says “But Also Today.” A turn of the page has “The Charon‘s Bridge. Now.” The bridge crew is present, with Rigg commanding Elox to make an adjustment in their flight path. All seems normal, however the panel below it states “But ALSO On the Bridge. Now.” This shows the crew is the same positions as the previous panel, but they are slack jawed with vines coming out of their mouths. The ceiling has a several larger tendrils of the vine. In the setting of the top panels, the Crone approaches the captain to tell him that her other half, the Beauty, was taken. That morning after waking and looking out a window, the Crone sees the Beauty ensnared by several of the vines outside stating, “Beware, sister! It’s taken over! It’s taken over…” When the Crone also states that her cat has gone missing, Rigg grows furious and beats the elderly woman to the ground, pulled off her by Agwe. This is a great supernatural mystery. The captain can’t understand why he almost killed the Crone and soon other crew members are acting similarly. The cat is visited and what it finds is a herald of doom. Prakash has an amazing scene in this issue on Pages 13 and 14. The reveal at the bottom of the page is outstanding. I honestly thought I was witnessing an epic death on 16, until the final panel on the page and the first panel on 17 show something very cool. Layman is showing the reader the solution to the threat before explaining it. Eagle eyed readers will understand what’s going on before 18. With the problem overcome, I thought the last page would allow the reader a moment to breathe, but Layman doesn’t do that: something reaches a head and a decision is made. Good luck trying to relax for thirty days, reader! This was awesome. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: The visuals by Afu Chan on the first two pages are brilliant teases of what’s in store for the reader. The first page shows the Charon in action, with one panel showing it at warp and the other just sitting in space. Notice how the colors of the top panel are a lively in blue with green and orange streaks for the traveling effect. The bottom panel has the ship menacing in burnt red as it drifts in the endless ebony. Notice how the stars in this bottom panel are also in the same red. Creepy. I love the slight differences between the two panels on Page 2. The top panel has cool blues to show the stations for each crew member. The bottom panel uses violets to color the crew stations and orange lights intensify. The vines on the ceiling are in a light purple peppered with blue bulbs. Coloring is also key on the third page where the Crone is introduced in bright yellows as she faces the captain, but then gets colored in roses to show her when she rises. This is good visual foreshadowing to the event she witnesses on Page 4. Look at the transition between the second and third panel on this page — so smooth. Check out the bottom two panels on the page that form one image, but make the focus for the reader specific. Yes, this is a comic book, but the violence on 5 surprised me. The glowing reds intensify it immensely. I love how violets and blues dominate on 9, giving the visuals a very alien flare. The violence in the large panel on 11 is a shock, but the panel below it will cause wonderful confusion for the reader — and notice how it’s a mirror image of the bottom panel on 10. The design of the panels for the conference on the next two pages is cool — very much in the mode of expected science fiction, with the colors right in step. The last panel on 13 destroys that expectation and the close-ups that follow on the next page are great. The violence on 16 is brutal. The intense close-ups on 17 awesome. The final page’s close-up is also awesome, showing how the final words for the issue are damning. Wow. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Pat Brosseau is the book’s letterer creating scene settings, dialogue, dialogue that’s lost to the void, yells, sounds, and weakened text. The text of the scene settings are absolutely crucial to understanding what’s occurring. They stand out in a sleek sci-fi style resembling streamlined letters from the 80’s. The dialogue that’s lost to the void beautifully shows how an individual is truly gone. The yells are in thicker and larger fonts than the normal dialogue, leaving readers unquestionably hearing it as louder. The sounds are spectacular with the fights’ sounds increasing the illustrations’ punch. I like the weakened speech that one character states that make him confused. Brosseau is an outstanding contributor to this issue. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A new horror awaits the crew as it subtly feeds on them. Excellent story that makes the reader question everything shown. The visuals clearly show what’s happening, but will only reward those that pay close attention. Brilliant horror. Overall grade: A+

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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