Lumberjanes from BOOM! Box kicks off a new, crazy arc, while Hook Jaw from Titan Comics winds down its limited series run. Dark Horse Comics presented what may be the best Aliens comic in years with Aliens: Dead Orbit #1.
Want to hear more about what we thought about these issues? Read on – and let us know what you thought in the comments below.
Artist: Ayme Sotuyo
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: BOOM! Studios DRC
Okay, so, this issue kicks off a brand new story arc and it may be the greatest arc ever. The Lumberjanes’ parents are here for Parents Day! As if the Lumberjanes camp wasn’t crazy enough with the supernatural beings and mysterious happenings now we’re throwing everyone’s parents into the mix and I’m so excited.
Why are the parents coming to camp? Basically Rosie gets it in her head that Parents Day is a good idea because it’ll help with homesickness and ‘transparency.’ Of course, no one intends on the parents learning the truth about the camp. The Lumberjanes come to the decision just amongst themselves not to tell their parents about all their crazy adventures and Rosie instructs the counselors to do the same. But there’s something lurking about the camp that’s intent on ruining everything so… someone’s parents are bound to find out if not everyone’s parents.
My money is on Ripley’s abuela – but we’ll see!
I loved getting to meet everyone’s families. Jo’s dads are great, April’s dad is adorable, Mal’s mom is super supportive, and Ripley’s family is exactly like her and I love it. The only person whose parents aren’t around seems to be Molly – and we’ve see her struggling with her family’s expectations for a while now. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t invite them and they just happened to show up at some point in a future issue.
With a little help from Barney the girls are able to keep their parents from seeing any strangeness – at least at first. But the next activity on the schedule for Parents Day is a scavenger hunt and it’s not the safe, supernatural-free one Rosie devised…
The first issue of this arc is only the beginning as far as the girls’ desperate attempts to conceal all the strangeness from their parents go. I can’t wait to see what Watters and Leyh do next. I’m also really glad to see Ayme Sotuyo back as the artist. I really enjoyed her work a while back and she’s doing fantastic jobs with the Lumberjanes’ families and their character designs so far! I’m telling you all – this arc is going to be so great.
Hook Jaw #5
Artist: Conor Boyle
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Titan DRC
Well… I continue to love the art? Hook Jaw ends its limited run with a bang, but it’s mired in such ham-fisted platitudes that, while I understand are purposefully obnoxious, just weren’t my cup of tea. After a hunch brings everyone converging on the crate that brought the CIA into the mix, the Somalian pirates forced the hostages to go retrieve it for them. Hookjaw doesn’t attack the divers, but showcases an intelligence that brought out even more sympathy in one of the hostages. I’ll say the bang is literal and leave it at that.
Conor Boyle outdoes himself again with plenty of full page panels full of gorgeous sharks and unnerving underwater wreckage. I would put up all sorts of shark attack art from this book if I didn’t think people would question my sanity. Also, I will say the divers were difficult to distinguish underwater and even the speech bubbles got slightly disorienting, but that may just be the nature of the dive suit. Boyle really is the best thing about this comic and I could have just watched the whole thing play out in silent movie form and been happy.
Perhaps fans of the original Hook Jaw may find some entertaining aspects of this pseudo-revival, but for newcomers the series may come off as an over-the-top-in-your-face series filled with broad stereotypes. It’s a simple story needlessly bogged down with complications, and not the good kind.
Aliens: Dead Orbit #1
Author: James Stokoe
Artist: James Stokoe
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
As a franchise, Alien always worked best as an unknown. The film sequels struggled with no longer being able to deploy the iconic xenomorph as a surprise and often ended up having to twist the setting or protagonist in order to use the creatures as a villain at all. It’s a challenge that faces comics as well. Anyone buying an issue with Aliens on the cover knows what they’re getting into, knows what’s coming.
James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 is well aware of your expectations. It’s a debut issue that, as you might expect, holds off on the big reveal for the final page but the iconic creature is never far away from readers’ or the characters’ minds with a protagonist who’s already shaken by the xenomorph.
With a story that takes place in two points in time, before an ill-fated voyage to a derelict freighter, and alone in another ship after, the issue follows the shaken Wascylewski as he’s haunted by trauma and frightened by shadows. It’s a premise that lends itself to foreboding but all told by a creator well known for his admiration for detail and scale.
James Stokoe writes, draws, and letters the issue and it feels, in the same way as Orc Stain, like a book solely he could create. The Weyland Yutani fuel depot where most of the issue takes place is covered in grimy details. It’s physically worn down and so are the people in it, who’ve nested into seats surrounded by overflowing ash trays, empty packs of cigarettes, day-old stained coffee mugs and piles of detritus.
Stokoe’s art has always owed a massive debt to manga artist Katushiro Otomo and it shows here in the hyper detailed take on space. The detail here is astounding and it will put fans of this franchise right in the seats of these doomed spacers.
Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 succeeds by recognizing what audiences are expecting and leading with a protagonist who’s dreading what we know is coming. It’s a balancing act that plays both to the strength of the franchise and the iconic creature at its heart, as well as what readers are looking to from the horror icon. It’s also a fantastic showcase of Stokoe’s one-of-a-kind talent and arguably the best Alien comic in years.