Review – Delta 13 #3 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Nat Jones
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Release Date: 4th July 2018

Back in late May, I summed up issue one by saying that “it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.” Was I right? Well… maybe.

Nat Jones continues to provide visuals that manage to be cold and simple yet highly effective, an approach which has really grown on me. Whilst of a style that won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and despite a sparsity of detail in the faces of the crew, you can’t help but be drawn to their eyes. This is important later in this issue as it causes one of those shivery, skin crawly moments that are always welcomed in a horror book.

Despite the consistency inside however, the cover feels a bit of a let down from the previous two. From the Geiger comparisons of #1 and the striking cover of #2, this comes across as something of an unfinished concept. Where the styling works and lends a huge boost to the book as a whole, as a cover image there is something off kilter here where you’d really expect to be hitting a stride.

So what does the story bring? To be clear, my thoughts on the pacing haven’t changed much. Each issue feels relatively short, but with a methodical delivery which is adeptly paced to deliver just the right amount of information to keep you coming back. This has the look and feel of a good sci-fi movie. The sparse but effective delivery of lines, the claustrophobic feeling (impressive given the amount of space the ship seems to have), and, of course, the aforementioned pacing for effect.

What really feels like a bit of let down here though is that some of the story feels like it has been lifted straight from another franchise. I’m not suggesting outright plagiarism but it’s hard to escape some of the conceptual similarities. Here also leads to a serious bug bear and personal pet hate of mine – the insane actions of people who crew space vessels.

In the future, recruitment agencies must set a seriously low bar for applicants on spaceships. That or health and safety regulations no longer exist. Seriously. Why else would you, having lifted something organic from an alien object, happily bring it on to you ship and give it a poke? All without any kind of containment other than a paper mask. There’s also always at least one person who stands there saying, “on your head be it” and you know they’re going to be thinking, “I told you so.”

If it isn’t obvious by now, this issue starts to ramp up the ‘horror’ and whilst it’s not something that you’d necessarily want to go out and jump on immediately, it does deliver an entertaining read. I’ll keep following to see where this goes, but overall, unless you are avidly into the genre, there’s simply not enough new here to elevate this title from the crowd.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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