|ALIENS: DEAD ORBIT No. 2, May 2017|
Indeed, within moments of the Weyland-Yutani way station’s newly-arrived patients starting to shudder and convulse in the Med-bay, it is likely the vast majority of this comic’s readership felt their hearts starting to beat a little faster; especially when Doc Harrow angrily remonstrates with his skipper that he is doing all he can simply to sedate and stabilise the badly mutilated “three unlicensed passengers”. This all-pervading sense of unease doesn’t abate either, just because the scene disconcertingly shifts to Wascylewski’s more sedentary investigation into the supposed freebooter salvager’s ship manifest.
Coldly curious as to why the recovered deep space vessel’s “payroll suggests” it still has five missing crewmembers, the engineer’s partial briefing to his shipmates actually succeeds in slowly heightening the storyline’s mounting tension up until the point where Captain Hassan is suddenly urgently called back to Medical, and Stokoe pencils some truly gruesome splash pages depicting infant aliens erupting from the inside of their ill-fated carriers. This sequence, notable for the carousel of panels showing the open-mouthed horror on the faces of “Wassy” and his dumb-struck colleagues, is incredibly-well illustrated, and goes a long way to recapturing all the chaotic atmosphere of Kane's dinner-time demise in the original 1979 British-American film “Alien”; “Stay back! Don’t touch them!”
Perhaps far less satisfying, is sadly the comic book artist’s conclusion to this publication, which disappointingly switches back to Wascylewski’s ‘present day’ predicament as the increasing derelict fuel depot continues to break apart, and the protagonist finds himself momentarily breathing vacuum. Eyes bulging, gasping for a lungful of non-existent air, and unable to acquire an emergency rebreather, the sole survivor is shown one minute blacking out before the station’s computer can recalibrate the life support systems for that area and then in the next being inexplicably dragged off into darkness by a pair of slavering drones...
|Story, Art and Lettering: James Stokoe|