Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Comics: Outer Darkness

Outer Darkness from Skybound and Image is a blend of science fantasy, space opera, horror, and a bit of humor. It's written by John (Chew) Layman and drawn by Afu Chan and tells the story of the voyages of the USS Charon on its mission beyond known space into the titular Outer Darkness. It's sort of like Star Trek, if the crew were mostly scheming bastards of various sorts, the Captain a disgraced mutineer with a hidden agenda, and the Enterprise's warp drive was a Sumerian god that demanded periodic human sacrifice.

The Charon's compliment includes a ship's oracle and various quantum mages among the usual space opera crew positions. Threats its crew will face include a demonically possessed sun, undead aliens, and hidden threats from within.

"Magitech" is something I find pretty cool when done well precisely because it is not typically done well. It works best when it isn't the fantasy equivalent of the Stone Age tech on the Flintstones, but instead holds on to a degree of the fantastic rather than making the fantastic mundane. A flying carpet that acts just like a car is bad, but a car that obeys rules of magic is potentially interesting. So far, Outer Darkness as more of the latter than the former.

The art and the story are pretty good too, though the art style doesn't particularly say horror, to me. That's probably to the book's advantage, because the story seems more darkly humorous than horrific, at least in the first 3 issues.


Anne said...

I think I might need to try to find a way to read this. Incidentally, you might like the novel "Celestial Matters," which is like Star Trek, except all the science is ancient Greek.

Trey said...

@Anne - I read it, and enjoyed it! It was an influence on Baroque Space: