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"Outer Darkness #5" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment

Outer Darkness 5 00

Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Afu Chan
Lettered by Pat Brosseau
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 13th, 2019

Review:

The crew of the Charon have been through some pretty rocky adventures in their short time together. Now they're really put to the test as they've crash landed on a foreign planet and there's a demon lurking in their midst. The body count is going to go way up as Outer Darkness nears the end of its first story arc.

There's some solid character work in Outer Darkness as writer John Layman seamlessly juggles this large cast. It's pretty impressive to see how almost everyone gets some time in the spotlight to further develop. Obviously, someone like Captain Rigg stands out, both because he's one of the main characters and because he has a pretty big personality. He's someone you can love and hate. He makes it abundantly clear to everyone and anyone that he's in charge of this ship and he doesn't care what anyone else thinks. This quality can be annoying in some folks, but for some reason, it just works with Rigg. I can't wait to see what kind of reaction his prickly nature will create.

Outer Darkness 5 01Outer Darkness 5 02
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You can cut the tension in the crew with a knife as everyone is on edge. Mutiny is already being discussed and not even all that secretly. While Rigg's decisions can be brash, he does have an end goal in mind. It's just that it's not entirely by the book and that's rubbing some people the wrong way.

Letterer Pat Brosseau highlights all the right inflections in the dialogue. This helps provide some context to the speech, especially the talk of overthrowing Rigg. There are hushed tones and then bouts of anger mixed in.

Artist Afu Chan's style complements the story very well. It has a slight cartoony feel which amplifies the humor in Outer Darkness. This also lulls you into a false sense of security so when the blood starts flowing, it's a bit of a shock. This is not a funny version of Star Trek, this is like Alien with a bit of comic relief mixed in.

Outer Darkness 5 03Outer Darkness 5 04
Click images to enlarge

Chan paces this issue very well, coming in close to focus on some key elements and then pulling way back to show the size and scope of what the crew is up against. The sequence with the crash landing is a great example of this. We see the bridge bathed in red light, signaling danger as each of the crew members frantically search for a way out of this mess. What follows are some wordless panels with the ship descending rapidly to the planet's surface in a fiery ball, then a great double-page spread of the downed vessel.

Outer Darkness has rocketed forward in its debut arc and has never let up. The intrigue, humor, sci-fi adventure, and pure, unbridled horror blend together in this perfect mix that scratches every itch. If this is what the crew of the Charon get into in their first real mission, imagine what they'll do next...that is, if they can survive long enough to have a second mission.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Outer Darkness 5 Small
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Art: Fourandahalfstars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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