Comic Book Review: Outer Darkness #1


There are two words to put together that will grab my attention almost instantly, Sci-fi and horror. When I was given the rundown of what was Outer Darkness? I was quickly hooked on what this had in store for us. There’s always something to appreciate about a series that takes a chance on the horrors of the unknown in space. There’s no denying a sense of wonder about outer space, but what about the dark secrets that are more than you can chew?

First of all, I loved that this was a series that starred a colored person. Sometimes with horror or sci-fi, we get too used to this image in our heads of the captain of a ship. Captain Joshua Rigg shook things up when he looks different from that cliche role, and it goes without saying that skin color has nothing to do with who he is either. Sometimes you have to make that a point these days considering a certain audience in the comic community that should not be named.

From the start of this first issue, we find ourselves thrown straight into the thick of this story. No time for a backstory or a wordy explanation of the world around these characters. An approach I admire because it never hurts to have a good hook. Our very first taste of action set the tone for what this series was going to deliver. They’re in outer space, and they are quickly experiencing the madness of what exists out there, wherever they are.Credit where it is due that this creative team nailed showing us demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror all at once. It was nothing mind-blowing, but like I said above we got just the taste needed to know what we were getting ourselves into. It is really not everyday that you will run into a cosmic story where demons and ghosts play that much of a role in the things that you have to fear. Everything else is pretty unique as well whether you are talking about the way that mankind operates in the stars, what purpose they have out there, and lets not forget the kind of technology they run on. The tech in particular was a point of interest for how wild their developments leaned. It was good to know that some of the horrors experienced could be from the people themselves.

From there we knew what we had to prepare ourselves for. Proper introductions did follow, and I enjoyed the way that Layman eased into this. Again we didn’t need a major backstory to anyone. We just needed to know who these characters are now, their personality, and what makes them stand out. For Captain Joshua Rigg, we experience his leadership foremost and how that brings about some of his highs and lows. He definitely challenges some of the cliches of this genre for the kind of bold moves he makes in contrast to others. By the end of this issue we got a good understanding of what drives Rigg into the Outer Darkness, and what he aims to achieve by venturing off into that darkness.

We don’t get to know too much of the other characters, but as a first issue it was more important to focus on the main character and the appeal of the plot. To that extent I would say that this creative team succeeded. We got only what we needed and nothing more. Just enough to get us intrigued for what the next issue has to offer.

Afu Chan’s artwork for Outer Darkness was a lot better than what I initially thought we would get. I didn’t have any fears about the interior work, but I also didn’t have any expectations either. So I found myself pulled in quickly by the things that are unique to this series. As I pointed out above, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the work put into our main character to make him stand out. Whether it was his ethnicity, or attire, he was nothing you have seen before. Fortunately he wasn’t too plastered in futuristic gear either. I like when something can take place in the future without that fact being shoved in your face. What stood out to me more was the creativeness that went into the different alien races, the different horrors, and the way that these horrors can affect those in the Outer Darkness. The colors weren’t too strong, but they got the job done it capturing the things that are supposed to be outside of the ordinary. It also goes without saying that the lettering was on point as well. I love the way the bubbles and words change when someone speaks who isn’t human. The colors for that as well worked.

I feel like Outer Darkness can be another winner for Skybound for the potential that this story carries. Outer Darkness doesn’t go the normal route as most horror stories would, and doesn’t fear the dangers of jumping into the abyss with a mission. This series embraces it and that should make this a thrilling adventure moving forward.

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