A mysterious disaster has struck a mining station in space beyond something called the Rift. The nearby colony has called in a rescue team to investigate made up of Dixon, Bear, and Sinclair. They are accompanied by a doctor and a recently incarcerated pilot. What will they find in the station? What happened to the crew?
Vortex is a delightful send-up of Alien (the good ones), Event Horizon (criminally underrated), John Carpenter's own The Thing, and the first Dead Space game. It's set in deep space in the future, a mystery disaster has struck a space station, and we are given the perspective of the response team what is holding its own baggage.
The baggage in this case is that Dixon recently had to choose to jettison a portion of this colony, including the leader's husband. Much of the colony still holds a grudge against him, and that's why the leader of the colony gave him a pilot who recently spent time in prison.
The actual action of the issue, the exploration through the remnants of the mining station, is alive and full of tension. It is akin to all those nerve-wracking moments from Alien and Dead Space where you don't know what will appear before the protagonists.
The "what" of what happened to station isn't unexpected, but it has a unique design that keeps it fresh. It's also pretty creepy, which is good.
The Milton Paradise Lost epigraph at the beginning and end is trying to push for drama a little too hard, but that is a minor nitpick.
Dave Kennedy's artwork is great, providing a lot of detail, appropriate shading, and intensity in its own right. The color work, also done by Kennedy, is fantastically done too. Kennedy knows how to put a scene together, and his style actually reminds me of Stepjan Sejic in some ways. That is a good artist of which to remind me, for those who have read my Aquaman reviews know well.
The first issue of Vortex is a tense and gripping read with solid protagonists, a familiar yet exciting premise, and fantastic artwork. You can definitely see the Carpenter influence, and Mike Sizemore and Dave Kennedy do a great job of putting this story together. I highly recommend this one. Give it a read.
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