Boom StudiosComics

We Only See Them When They’re Dead #3

Al Ewing, writer

Simone Di Meo, illustrator

Mariasira Miotti, colors

Readers will remember that this is a story that follows Captain Malik and his crew on their ship, The Vihaan II, as they scavenge in deep space. The Vihaan II is confronted by an escort ship piloted by Paula Richter, that intends to destroy them or bring them in. This issue continues the game of hide and seek between these two vessels, which started in the first issue. What’s clear is that Richter will not let Malik and his crew escape without being destroyed. What also becomes clear is that the crew of the Vihaan II will hold nothing back in trying to escape. What’s still to learn is the precious cargo, which the captain calls “God” provoking him to ask are the dead now awake? There is much of the story yet to be revealed. 

The art is futuristic, cryptic, psychedelic even. The lack of clarity supports the confusing and mysterious elements of this story. The imagery places this small cargo ship, with a crew of four, in the dead of space: quiet, cold, and alone. The dynamic created by the chase is shown in images of light with colors providing as much meaning as the pictures themselves. The Escort is pictured in red, The Vihaan II in shades of yellows, blues, and greens. The mirror-like imagery provides a muddled plot that sometimes works but sometimes leaves the reader wanting just a little more details to contextualize the story.

The heart of this story sits in two places: the history between Malik and Richter’s families and the precious cargo inside The Vihaan II. This issue gets us closer to the answer to the question of what do the crew “only see when they’re dead”. A couple of quotes from the issue illuminate this question: “They lose something on their way to us”, and “What if they cannot be alive or real”. Cryptic? Confusing? Yes, and that’s the point. This is a space fantasy and mystery story with a slow reveal. I appreciate being three issues in and still in the dark because I’m sick of the quick reveal and slog of some recent science fiction comics. This is not that. 

I highly recommend this story for it’s deep space mysterious feeling; almost like Alien the original movie. Something is out there. The Vihaan II is in close contact with it. We have yet to find out if this is the thing they hunt, regularly, or is it a surprise capture. I can hardly wait to see how this story flushes out and if the tension can be held into a second arc. Overall 9/10

I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist. Comic book heroes have been a passion of mine since I was a small child. However, making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list has become a regular occurrence only…

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