Destiny Has Come For The Crew Of The Vihaan II: Reviewing ‘We Only Find Them When They’re Dead’ Book 1

by Brendan M. Allen

‘The gods are always beautiful… and the gods are always dead. Captain Malik and the crew of the spaceship the Vihaan II are in search of the only resources that matter – and can only be found by harvesting the giant corpses of alien gods that are found on the edge of human space. 

While other autopsy ships and explorers race to salvage the meat, minerals, and metals that sustain the human race, Malik sees an opportunity to finally break free from this system: by being the first to find a living god. But Malik’s obsession with the gods will push his crew into the darkest reaches of space, bringing them face to face with a threat unlike anything they ever imagined, unless the rogue agent on their trail can stop them first…’

In We Only Find Them When They’re Dead Book 1, Captain Malik and his crew harvest resources from giant alien god corpses. It’d be a good gig, if there weren’t so many other crews scrambling for the same goods. Malik, who’s kind of got an obsession with the giants, decides maybe their odds would be better hunting, rather than scavenging. (Not going to call that one a spoiler, since it’s right up there in the solicit.)

You know, they’re calling them autopsy ships, but let’s call a spade a spade. These crews are butchers. They’re incredibly quick and efficient, but they’re in it for the cash, exploiting whatever resource they can lay claim to.

That usually works out okay, but there’s a particular agent who’s got it out for Malik, and scrutinizes his every move, to the point she’ll shirk off duty and disregard her own personal safety just to bring this one crew down. There’s no good outcome, unless Malik and the crew of the Vihaan II get incredibly lucky and Richter makes a series of very stupid errors.

This isn’t a completely unique premise. We’ve seen space pirates, scavengers, and colonists. Rogue ship captain? Check. Plucky crew? You got it. Overzealous law enforcement breathing down their necks the whole time? Also, yes. The payload itself? That’s new and interesting.

Al Ewing doesn’t waste any time dialing up the tension. There are three or four places in just the first couple chapters where the whole thing could have reasonably gone completely sideways and ended in a flash of spectacular blinding light, and straight out of the chute, Ewing managed to make me care that it didn’t. 

So many questions pop up right away. Some of them get resolved by the time this first arc wraps up. Malik obviously did something terrible to Richter, or something she perceived as terrible anyway. It does come up before the book ends, and it’s deeply personal to both of them, for very different reasons. 

I do have one burning question that does not get answered yet. They’re harvesting all the different parts of these gods. Some of those parts are carved up like steaks and obviously intended for human consumption. What does a god taste like? Chicken? It has to be chicken, right?

If we’re lucky, that’ll be addressed in the upcoming second arc, popping off with issue #6 in May 2021.

The art in this series is phenomenal. Simone Di Meo has created an absolutely gorgeous aesthetic. Without getting into spoiler territory, there are a ton of opportunities for Di Meo to flex. From the nuanced expressions on the faces of each of the players to the impossible vastness of space, the details are insane. 

Characters and ships are unique and memorable. Subtle emotional shifts are telegraphed in expression and posture, while the absurd vastness of space and the unimaginable size and grace of the gods is beautifully conveyed. Those armored giant corpses are fantastic, especially when the cutting lasers are applied, and you start seeing internal structures exposed and laid bare. 

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead Book 1 is an incredible first arc. If you haven’t already jumped on board, this release is perfectly timed to get you caught up on one of the absolute best new series of 2020 before the second arc starts up in a couple months. 

This book really has it all. Story, engaging and exceptionally well told. Art, smack you in the mouth stunning. Seriously, buy this book.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, Book One: The Seeker, collects chapters 1-5, BOOM! Studios, 17 March 2021. Written by Al Ewing, with art by Simone Di Meo, color assists by Mariasara Miotti, and letters by AndWorld Design.


We Only Find Them When They’re Dead Book One: The Seeker really has it all. Story, engaging and exceptionally well told. Art, smack you in the mouth fantastic. Seriously, buy this book.

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