Advanced Review of The Disciples #2

Disciples_2By Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten

Each issue of The Disciples does not have it’s own chapter title. If I was given the job of issue titler, titlist, titlee, guy who comes up with the title (just because there isn’t a word for it doesn’t mean it isn’t a real job), I would title issue #1 “The Mission” and issue #2 “Who…Wha…Huh…Fuck…” It is in issue #2 where things really get bad for our characters, which makes things more enjoyable for me, the reader. Issue #1 was a perfect construction of a sci-fi horror introduction. A slow moving issue with just the right amount of confusion to stir up our intrigue and just the right amount of character development to turn that intrigue into immersion. Sci-Fi is a genre that I have a hard time defining. If you remember back to our Image March Madness Bracket we had two Sci-Fi divisions (Whimsy Sci-Fi and Nihilist Sci-Fi) and one division (Kitchen Sink) which was basically Sci-Fi books we can’t find a way to group together. Different sub genres of Sci-Fi need different attributes to be enjoyable. Sci-Fi horror books do not need the same attributes as dystopian future Sci-Fi books, or even science heavy Sci-Fi books. There does not have to be as many fancy gadgets, or social parallels. A Sci-Fi horror book requires confusion, mystery and terror to be interesting and The Disciples issue #2 hits all these beats hard.

Rick, Dagmar and Mustache Man (his name is Jules, I just prefer Mustache Man) wake up in a confused state as they were just tossed around after witnessing a ghostly pregnant looking woman. Rick is folded over a chair with puke all over his face and some tiny parasite hanging out of his mouth. This large worm-snake creature escapes his mouth in a pool of throw up an vanishes into thin air. The crew, obviously rattled, set out to search for the knocked up nightmare. The ship is small so it does not take long for them to find nothing. This should be a very tense moment, but there are a few jokes cracked along the way to lighten the mood, making it feel even more like a real situation. Baffled that they found nothing on the ship, the three amigos brainstorm logical explanations that would make them all hallucinate a horrific woman and a vanishing alien. The focus is changed from hallucinations to the mission when they realize they are fast approaching the destination. It is at this time where the confusion, mystery and terror all come crashing in as Rick raises a gun to his head and say these words before blowing his brains all over the ship, “Please…Help…Them”.

When you are a space bounty hunter there is not much time for tears. Rick is quickly wrapped up and shot out into space as Nessy (the ship) begins its descent to Ganymede. Dagmar and Stachey land in the colony and leave the ship on foot. The colony looks completely deserted except for the fact that all the right doors keep opening upon their approach. It was almost like someone was expecting them, but no one is anywhere to be found. As the issue concludes, they enter the church where they hope to find some life and instead find their good pal ghost of Christmas birth control.

Steve Niles has creatively worked with Christopher Mitten before but adding Mitten to the illustrations creates an exceptional flow to the story. Both creators are in perfect sync for this story. Mitten’s clear pencil lines create a very real visual narrative while still rough enough to come across as science fiction. The crew has a few scenes of horrific situations while at the same time they are cracking jokes. It is Mitten’s character work in both body language and facial expression that pull this off. As the crew searches the ship, you can see the tension in their posture while also seeing the nervous smiles on their face as they crack jokes. The very real character work inside the ship also makes the full page spreads of space seem larger than life. There are several full page spreads that deserve to be stared at in this issue.

This book is so good! It is a Sci-Fi horror story that will keep you thinking about it long after the final page turn, which is all you can ask for in a book. I can’t wait until more issues are released. There is talk of a TV adaptation with Wes Craven at the helm. If this ever does happen I will be first in line to see it! (There isn’t a line up for my TV, I was just trying to be dramatic.)

– Dean

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