Delta 13 #1 Review: Falls Just Short on All Counts

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A scanning ship in the Asteroid Belt of our solar system has just finished a routine scanning of an asteroid. They jump away to their next destination only to find a mysterious large asteroid which they almost crash into. They only avoid doing so by flying into one of the rock's tunnels to slow down. This rock came from nowhere, and it's not on any charts. Plus, the tunnels are suspicious in their own right. What is this thing?

Delta 13 #1 cover by Nat Jones
Delta 13 #1 cover by Nat Jones

Delta 13 is an interesting start to this sci-fi/horror tale, but so much of what it does feels token. It takes notes from Alien, as all sci-fi/horror must, but it doesn't dive into what made it such a classic. Characters have traits but not personalities. Science fiction jargon is thrown out there, but it's never grounded in such a way to create tension or drama.

Worse yet, the issue ends with the vaguest notion of something spooky and ominous going on. We don't even get a taste of the big bad threat or whatever lies within the asteroid.

That said, there is still plenty of potential for something good. The characters have room to grow, even if their characterization feels like the book is just going through motions. Whatever threat that lies within the asteroid could be unique and frightening. However, this first issue is just vague gestures, and I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling shortchanged.

Delta 13 #1 art by Nat Jones
Delta 13 #1 art by Nat Jones

That brings us to the art, which is a very mixed bag. Characters are given solid detailing and design, but background features are painfully underdone. They look like scribbles on the wall and break the suspension of belief remarkably quick. Even things, like their spider drones, that are supposed to be the focal point of some panels have detailing that looks scribbled in. It doesn't help that the generally monochrome color palette, which could have taken focus away from these shortcomings, makes everything blend together visually. This makes the lackluster background detailing even more noticeable.

Delta 13 #1 is not a good start to this series. It leaves breadcrumbs that could lead to interesting places, but the pacing, at-times inorganic dialogue, characterization, and art all fall just short of being good. It's not unbearable, but it is a struggle to even call it passable. As such, I can't recommend this comic. Give it a pass.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.