In Review: Outer Darkness #11

The official mission is completed and now the kid gloves come off and the real one begins.

The cover: Captain Joshua Rigg raises a glass of Pratalaxian Usquebae, 15 year reserve, to his crew for the completion of their mission. They’ve arrived at Sagittarius Base Alpha. All is good, right? If one looks deeply enough into the background, none of the survivors of this mission look happily at their captain. Also creating some doubt is that several skulls are within the glass of violet colored liquid that’s bubbling. Afu Chan has created yet another outstanding frontpiece where one will wonder about the captain’s smile, the crew’s indifference, and what’s in that glass. And big kudos for it being an actual moment in this issue. I love when covers show actual moments from the book. Overall grade: A

The story: Satalis has his hands behind his back as Rigg is taking him to be fed to their God-engine. Sick of Satalis’s mouth, the captain knocks him out in front of the creature that’s “always hungry.” He’s about to drop him in when someone appears that orders him to stop. Rigg has had issues with this person before and he’s not willing to deal with his murderous first officer on their voyage to Sagittarius Base Alpha. That’s when this character reveals that they’re already reached their destination. This changes everything. There’s a heartfelt reunion between Siddarth and Soreena Prakash, with the latter telling her father several negative things about the captain that he chose. Page 8 has the cover image occur: Rigg gives his crew twenty-four hours of shore leave to “get drunk, get laid, get into a fight, gamble, get into trouble.” He’s provided plenty of liquor for the crew and one heck of a surprise on Page 10. Pages 12 – 15 have the captain up to something, with some very usual characters. Page 16 has him meeting with Siddarth Prakash that takes a major turn on 19. John Layman reveals what Rigg is up to. And what a nightmare on the final page! I can’t tell if I should be rooting for the captain or despising him at this point. He’s driven; he wants to find his wife. The last two pages show how far he’s willing to go. One thing is for sure: he’s one hell of a character. This book is about to go in one wildly different direction. Overall grade: A+

The art and colors: The story doesn’t have too many supernatural horrors in this issue, but artist and colorist Afu Chan gets to show how low some characters will go. I love the look of worry on Satalis’s face on the opening page: he knows there’s no getting out of this situation. Even with the inevitability of what’s coming, the final panel on the page was a shocker because I didn’t expect Rigg to be so brutal. The coloring in this panel intensifies the action superbly. The design of the God-engine is outstanding. Though only seen briefly in previous issues, it never fails to impress and frighten. The strength of the character that confronts Rigg on the third page is great. I love how this individual has their arms crossed, visually showing Rigg and the reader that there will be no negotiation on this position. Notice how greens continue to dominate on this page, even though the God-engine isn’t shown. It gives the conversation a very sickly tone. Pages 4 and 5 are a double-page splash showing the Charon arriving at the Sagittarius Base Alpha. This structure looks great and the asteroid belt that circles it is awesome. I’m hoping that Layman gives Chan more opportunities to do stories set here. The blasé reactions from the crew on 9 are awesome. The reveal on 10 great, and I’m glad that Chan showed these people from the back because readers would have been mesmerized by what they showed. That smile in the third panel on the same page is awesome and I love Agwe’s reaction in the same panel. The new characters that appear on 12 – 15 are awesome. I MUST see more of each one in upcoming issues! The design of each says so much about each, even if they only appear for a single panel — with one noticeably not revealed. The top panel on 19 was a jaw-dropper. I’m always impressed when comic book artists can create a visual surprise and Chu most certainly does that here. The penultimate panel of the book is also a major reveal. I want to see what happens next in this location, yet I don’t know if I could handle it. I love the horror that’s shown and the horror that’s left for the reader to add to the imagery. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Pat Brosseau is responsible for the dialogue, sounds, God-engine speech, scene settings and character descriptors (the same font), distant dialogue, the unique speech of three new characters with lots of muscles, and the tease for next issue. There are a few sounds in this issue, and they make brutal moments even more fierce. The God-engine speaks with an appropriately bellowing font, making it echo off the page horrifically. The scene settings are in a futuristically smooth font that looks eons away, but is easily read. The distant dialogue occurs between two people in the background and may be hinting that his pair is up to shenanigans of their own. The trio that enters this book has a large font to match the size of their upper bodies. The tease for next issue is also in a futuristic font, but looks slightly sinister due to the design of the x and v. Very cool. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The official mission is completed and now the kid gloves come off and the real one begins. WOW! Another surprising twist in this tale spins things in a new direction, with horrors found in lead characters and not the specters that have been haunting them. Excellent visuals clearly show the emotion within characters, with both the art and colors outstanding. One of the best current series continues to be a page turner that chips away at the reader’s soul. Highest possible recommendation. 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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