Review: Delta 13 #2

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
June 19th, 2018

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Delta 13 #2
Comics
0
Review of: Delta 13 #2
Price:
Slow Burning

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 19, 2018
Last modified:June 19, 2018

Summary:

Edge of the seat story telling builds a perfectly eerie atmosphere into which the creators drop their characters. Tension and suspense continues to build making this a difficult title not to follow.

Review of: Delta 13 #2
Price:
Slow Burning

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On June 19, 2018
Last modified:June 19, 2018

Summary:

Edge of the seat story telling builds a perfectly eerie atmosphere into which the creators drop their characters. Tension and suspense continues to build making this a difficult title not to follow.

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Masters of comic book horror, writer Steve Niles and artist Nat Jones, join forces yet again to unleash the sci-fi horror title Delta 13 into the world. It is published by IDW and the second issue hits the shelves this week so our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look to see if it’s a hit or a miss.

The influences on Delta 13 are clear from a quick flick through the comic, classic sci-fi movies and Manga comics both contribute to the overall aesthetic. The first issue, released last month, was the very definition of ‘slow burn’ as it introduced the concept and setting for the narrative; building the right kind of atmosphere to trap the reader in. This issue takes us further into the darkness and begins to allow the central characters to make themselves known.

Synopsis

A space faring survey team drop a robotic crawler onto an over-sized asteroid and discover something unexpected. As the crawler vanishes without a trace the crew decide to take a closer look despite the objections from the pilot, Sanders.

She advises caution but her warnings fall on death ears as the gung-ho crew don space suits and venture into the unknown. What lurks within the depths of the asteroid is beyond anything that any of them expected.

Credit: IDW Publishing

Story continues below

Analysis

After the first, slow building, scene setting issue, the second part of Delta 13 works on creating tension between the crew of the wayward spaceship. Steve Niles has written a script which is obviously inspired by the original Alien movie and even shares a few of the same themes. The central character, Sanders, is a cautious and level headed, advising against blundering into the unknown. She is contrasted against the other crew members who all act without thinking and jump without looking. Niles creates a situation, the missing crawler, to highlight the different attitudes these characters have so that he can inject conflict into the story. Even though they are all still on good terms the reader can already see the cracks beginning to appear in the crews relationships.

This tension is achieved through the confrontational conversations throughout this issue. As each new aspect of the mystery is revealed Sanders is shown to have an opposing opinion to the other members of the crew.  This conflict is made even more uncomfortable because Sanders is the only woman aboard the spaceship. She has been put into a situation where she is surrounded by men and would be outnumbered if disagreements escalate. This adds an extra layer of tension to the story and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere for these characters to inhabit.

Credit: IDW Publishings

Nat Jones’ artwork adds another layer of tension to the comic. He has a talent for creating the sense of isolation, whether in the greater situation with the spaceship and the asteroid or on a more personal level. There are a number of pages and panels where Jones singles Sanders out, separating her from the group of men and emphasising her physical and ideological isolation.

There is a very simple colour palette used in Delta 13 which works wonderfully to tell the story. For the majority of the panels, there is a cold blue wash, incorporating harsh white and dark greys. The overall affect helps to create the deep space setting and gives everything an eerie, unnatural hue. However, there are a few moments when the panels feature a splash of blood red. In a number of panels, the colour is used minutely in the background like a subtle warning, a hint that something isn’t as it should be. This subtlety is washed away with a wave of red as the crew embark on their trip on to the asteroid. Despite having a logical, scientific reason for existing within the comic, the red is cast by the light on the airlock, the warning and danger that it signifies is obvious. Just like the sudden increase in volume for the backing music in a movie, the sudden change in colour acts as a signifier for the reader: something important has happened in this moment.

Delta 13 is a slow building narrative with pleasing creative touches that make the whole comic something special. Little touches such as Tom B. Longs speech balloons during the radio conversations: the ellipses edged with green with two break lines, makes the speech stand out but also gives it the sense of being separate to the scene, removed and isolated, just like Sanders in these scenes.

Niles and Jones’ Delta 13 is an exercise in tension building and the reader is kept on the edge of their seat, waiting for the turning point where it all goes wrong. The script is engaging and the artwork atmospheric. This is a comic that would appeal to lovers of science fiction or horror and there is a lot to appreciate in the comic craft on show within these pages.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. He has a much underused Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, and his own website comiccutdown.com where he writes more about comics.

Delta 13 #2 Cover Credit: IDW Publishing

Story continues below

Delta 13 #2

  • 4

Slow Burning

Edge of the seat story telling builds a perfectly eerie atmosphere into which the creators drop their characters. Tension and suspense continues to build making this a difficult title not to follow.

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