OUTER DARKNESS #1 BY JOHN LAYMAN, AFU CHAN,
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
OUTER DARKNESS #1 by John Layman and Afu Chan is the story of Captain Joshua Rigg and his misfit crew as they warp through space on an unforeseen mission. What could possibly go wrong? There’s no telling where their voyage will take them but I definitely request permission to board for the ride.
95 %
A Fantastic Voyage
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Space: the final frontier. This is the voyage of the starship Charon. It’s nine-month mission: to go into the outermost region of space. From Eisner and Harvey award-winning comic writer John Layman and artist Afu Chan comes their brand-new Image comics sci-fi series OUTER DARKNESS #1.

Captain Joshua Rigg and his misfit crew travel at warp speed through space on a mission that no one else wanted to go on. What could possibly go wrong? Perhaps they’ll find the woman that Riggs has been searching for. Or maybe they’ll find something even greater along the way. There’s no telling where their voyage will take them but I definitely request permission to board for the ride.

OUTER DARKNESS #1

OUTER DARKNESS #1 begins with commanding officer Joshua Riggs yelling at Captain Smitts on an unnamed cargo ship. They’re fighting over a ghostly dilemma in the middle of a Necro-Storm that could get them all killed. One bad decision and two dead crew members later, Riggs finds himself unemployed and without a crew. Facing mutiny charges, he’s offered a chance at redemption, all he has to do is take one last trip into the Outer Darkness of space.

Outer Darkness #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

OUTER DARKNESS #1 is an extremely fascinating yet bizarre take on the sci-fi genre. It seems to be set somewhere in the future of humanity where we live amongst aliens. It has everything from demonic possessions, ghost aliens carrying rocks, and a whole lot more. It’s a nostalgic sci-fi readers wet dream as it combines a zesty blend of great works like ALIENS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, EVENT HORIZON, and STAR TREK all into one. But despite having a good deal of comparison to these many great films and TV shows, OUTER DARKNESS #1 still manages to remain its own unique story with great early character development.

Outer Darkness
Image courtesy of Image Comics

If you’ve read any of Layman’s earlier work on his Image series CHEW or LEVIATHAN, then your already aware of the compelling characters, interesting plot twist, and always humorous dialogue that his stories tend to bring. First, there’s Captain Riggs, who’s kind of a cocky, in-your-face type of guy who doesn’t like to take direction but loves giving it. Then there’s Agwe, he’s smart, tough, and tries to point Riggs in the right direction. We meet a host of others in the first issue but these two are the ones you’ll remember the most. I had great expectations going into this book and it didn’t disappoint. The comic is a good combination of sci-fi, horror, comedy, and drama.

Beam Me Up, Mr. Layman

OUTER DARKNESS #1 is a fantastic start for a series with a lot of promise. The story is exciting, the characters we meet in this issue are great, and it leaves enough to the imagination to make you come back for a second one. Layman always brings a lot of jokes, pranks, and great Easter eggs within most of his work. But what I love most about his style of writing is his ability to not only tell a great story but give it a deeper meaner as well.

Outer Darkness #1
Image courtesy of Image Comics

OUTER DARKNESS #1 is not just about space travel, creatures, and spaceships. It’s also about relationships. One that stands out early in this issue is the relationship between Riggs and Agwe. You can tell from the opening scene where Agwe calls Riggs instead of the captain at the beginning of the story.

Another indication of their friendship is when Riggs is offered a second chance to command a ship. Riggs replies that if he goes on this journey, Agwe has to come with him. This moment implies that these two are most likely the Spock and Kirk of this story. Both are very likable in the first issue and you can tell that their friendship will be something that continues to grow as the story goes forward.

He’s Visually Giving it all He’s Got, Captain

The artwork by Afu Chan is superb. His pencil work makes everything blend so naturally and it’s easy on the eyes. He has a simplistic art style which gives each character their own distinct look. From outfits to hairstyles to tattoos, Chan definitely has a keen eye for detail.

Every character literally has its own hat, bag, and unique clothing that is different than the next. Even the background characters aren’t the same. This not only helps move the story forward but also gives more to explore within the panels. Also, his designs for the spaceships in this issue are interesting, as most of the ships look like buildings or homes. One of my favorite pages of Afu’s work pays homage to the film, THE EXORCIST. It involves an alien projectile vomiting. It’s an amazing scene that you’ll have to see to believe.

Outer Darkness
Image courtesy of Image Comics

To Boldly Go Where No Comic Has Gone Before

OUTER DARKNESS #1 is a fun, witty, and fantastic start to what I think promises to be a great new series by Layman and Chan. It has a solid mixture of diversity, humor, and amazing artwork. Hopefully, the second issue continues to build upon the momentum created from the first. The characters have great potential and I can’t wait to see what’s lies ahead for them.

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