(+++Warning, this review contains spoilers for Outer Darkness #10+++)
John Layman and Afu Chan’s sci-fi/horror mash-up, Outer Darkness, continues to entertain the horror fan in me as issue by issue Layman homages some of horror’s greatest storylines and humanity’s fears as The Charon continues its journey to Sagittarius Alpha. Like other issues, this is a done-in-one story ahead of the last two issue of this first season. And, again like previous issues, the opener of this issue throws us, the reader, into perplexity, even if the front cover gives you a damn good idea of the kind of story this will be. The Day of The Triffids, Invasion of The Body Snatchers and other vegetive horrors will all come to mind as you read through this book which makes no pretence of hiding the main evil of this particularly unsavoury tale. The Captain’s Log on this particular journey across space would make riveting, if not chilling, reading given the horrors Captain Rigg and his disgruntled crew have witnessed this far.
With the crew enslaved by a mysterious alien plant that enrages its victims as they are put into a heavy coma, we not only witness the violence tendencies of each one, but within this shared nightmare, truths are told. And, once out, there’s no taking them back. All this, and it would seem the Hag’s cat’s missing too!
There’s less comical moments in this book as the serious nature of the tensions that have been allowed to boil up across the series come to a head and set things in motion for what would seem to be a very unpleasant wind up of this first season over the next few issues. In fact, it’s a downright ultra-violent issue that sees even the mild-mannered Soreena Parakash loses it too. It certainly helps ramp up the tension ahead of the closing two issues of this first season.
Chan’s slick, clean economic art style continues to give this whole venture a faint nostalgic whiff of sci-fi from yesteryear but with a very modern design flair informing it all too. It’s both reverential of the past it intends to homage, while forging a distinctive style fo its own too as we continue to explore the universe of Layman and Chan as it unfolds.
Two more issue and the threat of upturning the status quo? Nothing I haven’t come to expect from Layman’s storytelling in the past. Who will win, lose or die is still all up in the are. And, what awaits them at the end of this already horrific journeys can’t be good either? Roll on the next two issues!
Outer Darkness #10 is out now from Image/Skybound.