Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Aliens: Dead Orbit #3 - Dark Horse Comics

ALIENS: DEAD ORBIT No. 3, June 2017
Despite forcing this book’s opening to subsequently contain a pulse-pounding jump scare and obligatory corridor chase scene, it’s debatable that many of this comic’s 12,115-strong audience actually appreciated James Stokoe’s decision to ‘push’ his story forward somewhat since the mini-series’ previous instalment concluded and thus literally skip over some of the main protagonists’ search for their space vessel’s extra-terrestrial intruders. As a matter of fact, the sheer suddenness of the Captain of Spacteria 284255 being grabbed from above and pulled up through the air vent by a Xenomorph, probably had many of this twenty-two page periodical’s bibliophiles reaching for their earlier edition of “Aliens: Dead Orbit” in the mistaken belief that they’d somehow expunged at least a couple of additional scenes from their memory.

Disconcertingly however, that simply isn't the case, and to make matters worse, the vacuum created by the Canadian writer’s mercenary culling of the Weyland-Yutani way station’s entire exploration is disagreeably filled with an irritating seventeen panel-long argument between Wassy, Torrenson and Park. Obviously the crew-mates are going to be upset at seeing their commander literally snatched from their midst and potentially torn asunder, but does this point need to be so monotonously laboured over?

Fortunately, once matters move to Harrow and his quandary “in Medical watching over the last salvager” things definitely ‘pick up’ for both this publication’s plot and pace. Indeed, in many ways it’s a pity Stokoe didn’t focus far more upon the blade-wielding heavily-mutilated patient’s predicament than that of the modern-day Wascylewski, as the one-eyed bandaged mummy’s painful realisation that her infected cryogenically frozen colleagues have supposedly been woken up, and therefore probably spread the alien menace on into her new surroundings, is far more enthralling than repeated viewings of the tightly bound engineering officer ineffectively struggling against the xenomorph’s famous secretions.

The crew’s failed attempt to bludgeon the doctor free from the medical man’s homicidal captor, the deranged woman’s ensuing plan to destroy the “company station” by piloting its escape shuttle straight back into the installation, and Wassy’s head-long race towards the flight bay in order to thwart such a proposal, all proves genuinely exhilarating stuff. Yet is then sadly ruined by James returning the reader to the present day for the comic’s cliff-hanger, and depicting his story’s lead superhumanly punching his way out of the hive webbing which up until this point has held him perfectly steadfast, as well as extraordinarily outrunning two drones in order to reach an inebriated Torrenson first; “Heh, Heh. Ha! Haha!”
Story, Art and Lettering: James Stokoe

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