Space opera is a genre that I really love reading about. Space opera mixed in with horror however isn’t exactly something that I run into a lot. In recent times, the only such story that I recall reading is Caliban by Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio, and that is pretty damn good. Last month’s Deep Gravity #1 started off on a very science fiction-y note with a very strong space opera outlook, but there was always an element of horror there, of mankind fighting off against monsters that went bump in the day. I loved the first issue, which I read last week, and was looking forward to reading the second issue.
At the end of Deep Gravity #1, we saw something really shocking happen. Deep Gravity #2 picks up right from there and tells the story of the crew of the Vanguard as the survivors try to make sense of what has happened, even as the ship continues to break down around them. The story is all about confronting limitations and beating them. Mike Richardson’s story, with Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman’s script, is as compelling here as it was in the first issue, and the art by Fernando Baldó is similarly excellent here, really capturing the horror and desperation of the situation the characters find themselves in.
Monstrous alien creatures. Ship stalled in space and bleeding its innards out. Dead characters. Characters infighting. That all and more can be found in this new issue released just this past Wednesday. Death in space is a really, really horrible way to die and our characters know that. They also know that there is no feasible rescue coming their way, not for a good long time and they will all probably be dead by then. So they decide to do the best they can and find out whether there are any more survivors.
Mike Richardson’s framing story is really good. It is a “man against nature” story that is set in space and features some really great characters trying to make the best of a crap situation. After all the hyper-hyped nature of the first issue, we kind of see the dangers of the planet Poseidon take a back-seat, to allow script-writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman to focus on the characters and flesh them out a little bit more. I loved that because it gave me a chance to understand these characters. And it also gave me a chance to understand which characters are able to carry their weight here, and who are not.
While the focus is so much on the dead Vanguard, the script-writers are limited in exactly what kind of a story they can tell. Almost the entirety of the issue takes place on the ship with a small amount of crew. We just don’t have the richness of the debut issue, and really, that’s fine, since we are following the protagonists around, and it just so happens that they are in a bit of trouble right now.
Thing is, for all the limited space, Corinna and Gabriel still write an issue that moves by fast. Really fast. And that’s in turn because the characters are portrayed as smart and intelligent people. They don’t give in to hysterics and they do try to understand just what the hell is going on around them, rather than bumbling their way to a half-satisfactory explanation.
Gotta appreciate characters like that, because that makes the story worth reading, and that is the care here. Deep Gravity #2 is a fun story, but it is also quite different to Deep Gravity #1, and might not be for everyone.
As I said, Fernando Baldó does the pencils here, with the awesome Nick Filardi on the colours, Blambot’s Nate Piekos on the colours and the cover by Gabriel and Matthew Wilson. Given the constraints of the story, Fernando and his cohort still manage to create a really well-detailed world for the characters to do their shtick in. The Vanguard in particular looks awesome. But the monsters, well they are the treat here, even if there is a slight delay in the schedule for them. Great-looking characters, great detailed panels that really get the claustrophobia and limiting nature of this story across.
Excellent work that I would like to see kept up in the future.
More Deep Gravity: #1.