Review – Where Starships Go To Die #1 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Mark Sable
Artwork: Alberto Locatelli
Colours: Juancho!
Lettering: Rob Steen
Release Date: 8th June 2022

Set around fifty years in the future, Where Starships Go To Die sees a world ravaged by climate change whose population finds themselves looking to the skies, eagerly awaiting the first transmission from the multinational crew of the Daedalus, Earth’s first interstellar craft.  However, the transmission is not forthcoming and nobody can get in contact with the ship.

Here we meet Captain Dlameni, an African astronaut who was removed from the original crew of the Daedalus and who finds himself tasked with recovering it from the underwater ‘spaceship graveyard’ of Point Nemo in the South Pacific Ocean where it seems to have inexplicably crash landed mere moments after the signal went dead.

The idea of a spaceship graveyard is definitely intriguing, particularly when you look into the reality of Point Nemo, the remotest location on the planet which is more than 1,000 miles from land in every direction.  It’s the place where, since 1971, the governments of the world have been crash landing autonomous spaceships, satellites, and other space junk which aren’t designed to survive re-entry, including the Russian Mir space station and NASA’s first space station, Skylab.  Pretty cool, right?

The idea that something sinister and otherworldly could be causing these crashes, rather than a controlled decision on our part, is definitely one that has legs, and is the main reason I picked this issue up in the first place.  Unfortunately, there’s a hefty amount of dialogue and slightly clunky exposition here that makes the journey towards the final reveal a little laborious at times.

It also doesn’t help that none of the key characters introduced here are particularly interesting, and Dlameni himself seems to be a fairly dour and bitter individual – although that’s probably justified given his slightly mysterious history.  Kiara, the shipping magnate who invites Dlameni on the salvage expedition and who believes she is the great-great-great granddaughter of Captain Nemo, definitely has some potential, but for the most part it’s fairy slim pickings so far in terms of emotional investment.

The artwork of Alberto Locatelli is technically sound, but sometimes feels a little at odds with the tone that writer Mark Sable is trying to achieve.  It’s a little stylised and ever-so-slightly cartoony in places, which is fine in its own right, and is certainly a style Locatelli does well, but it does seem a little light for what I’m guessing should be a more intense, sci-fi horror kind of vibe.

It’s a solid enough opening issue that takes quite a while to get to where it’s going, but the final few pages offer some promise that we’re going to venture into some far more exciting waters as the series unfolds.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the creators lean into the horror aspect of the story, so I’ll be tagging along at least as far as issue two.  This series has lot of potential for sure, but let’s call it unrealised potential for the time being.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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