Comic Review – The Disciples #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I read The Disciples #1 from Black Mask Studios, which they were kind enough to send me a copy of. Billed as a ‘space ghost story’, The Disciples was written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Christopher Mitten, with colours by Jay Fotos and letters from Thomas Mauer.

The Disciples takes place aboard the Venture, a starship crewed by a small team of bounty hunters (think Firefly) on their way to a new mission. Dagmar, Rick and Jules have been hired by a senator to retrieve his daughter from a cult on Ganymede, having fallen in with them and their billionaire leader. After having to pay a few bribes at a space port, and joking around with each other before entering stasis, the Venture’s autopilot takes them through hyperspace straight to Jupiter. But something horrifying has either hitched a ride, or has come aboard in the planet’s orbit…

I’m a big horror fan, and sci-fi horror is always great fun. Alien, The Thing, Event Horizon, anything twisted and with a creeping sense of dread. That said, I felt like there wasn’t a huge amount of horror in this ‘ghost story in space’, at least until the final page. There was a small amount of (admittedly intriguing) foreshadowing in Dagmar’s “weirdmare”, but the rest of the issue focusses more on character introduction and a set up of the normal, every day that this crew faces before turning it on its head at the end. However, I don’t really see this as necessarily a bad thing. By all means make me care about these characters before they get ripped to shreds a few issues down the line – something often neglected in horror. Niles writes a very capable and interesting sci-fi background story with a likeable cast, and the promise of terror that he has a proven track reckon in to come.

db538d38-7515-47b1-9858-358f038aa429Mitten’s art really stands out in The Disciples, with gritty and scratchy line work that showcases the grim future, and the horrors of Dagmar’s dream and the nightmare at the end. The imagery of the hyperspace jump was gorgeous though, and the scale of the lunar backdrop when the crew arrives at their destination is grand. Fotos’ murky colours enunciate all of Mitten’s art, painting a gloomy picture of the future.

The Disciples is off to a great start, and while I had expected a little more horror right from the off this first issue benefits from the set up and great art as a lead in. Check this out at your local comic book shop, or you can get it digitally over at www.blackmaskstore.com.

Score: 8 Weirdmares out of 10

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