Reviews: Aliens – Dead Orbit

Published On May 2, 2017 | By Matthew Wells | Comics, Reviews

Aliens: Dead Orbit #1,
James Stokoe,
Dark Horse

We are insanely lucky to have an artist such as James Stokoe working in the comic book industry today. One of the finest artists to ever grace our comic shelves, James Stokoe has established himself as a talented creator with titles such as cult-favourite Orc Stain and Godzilla: The Half-Century War.

After producing one of the best Godzilla comics of all time, Stokoe has recently been selected by Dark Horse Presents to work with a new, exciting license. The ever-popular Aliens franchise, is now in the hands of Stokoe, who provides the story, the art and lettering in Aliens: Dead Orbit.

A four-issue miniseries, Dead Orbit follows engineering officer Wascylewski, who investigates an unmarked station orbiting in space. With the possibility of a crew being stuck in a cryogenic state this far out in space, he sets upon himself and his crew to discover what’s really wrong with the station.

Wascylewski’s examination of the ship might have a nasty surprise waiting for him though, and as he finds out, much to his misfortune they’re not alone. Of course, it’s a familiar trope for the franchise but it’s in the hands of one of the most talented creators working today.

Aliens: Dead Orbit has been anticipated for a long while now and thankfully it doesn’t disappoint. James Stokoe fully establishes the setting and atmosphere within the first few pages, as he manages to capture the universe with some beautiful colouring.

As is the case with Stokoe’s style, Dead Orbit is intricately designed from panel to panel. There’s such an insane level of detailing throughout the comic, which is peppered with some neat usage of sound effects. His ship designs, inside and out, are simply magnificent, and echo the original film’s slightly worn look – these are hard-worked commercial craft, not gleaming Federation starships.

He crafts the beginning of this horror story brilliantly, as the tension builds up throughout the issue. If the first part of this series is anything to go by, then readers are going to experience that all-too-familiar sense of dread which the franchise is renowned for.

He’s a master of storytelling, and that can also be witnessed with his use of panel work. Everything is framed nicely, and each panel is crammed with his superb artwork. The sheer level of detail is unreal, and it is a pure visual treat for readers.

There have been a vast number of Aliens titles which have been published since the very first film, but Dead Orbit might turn out to be one of the best excursions yet. Stokoe manages to capture the universe in fascinating detail, and he refreshes a typical trope with his own wonderful interpretation.

If you haven’t checked out any of James Stokoe’s work yet, do seek it out. Orc Stain is recently back in print, and Godzilla: The Half-Century War is wonderfully put together. We’re not sure what we did to deserve Stokoe on an Aliens title, but we can only hope this is a continued trend for the creator.

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About The Author

As well as working for Forbidden Planet International, Matthew writes for Starbust and also covers comics, film and wrestling on his own blog.

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