I’ll say this right off the bat: The first volume was not a fluke. Vol. 2 of “Outer Darkness” cements its status as the best Image launch I’ve read this year. Writer John Layman and artist Afu Chan serve up some more inspired stories in the series’ vein of “Star Trek” by way of “Ghostbusters” action. We get to see things like the crew of the Charon encountering a VERY haunted house in the middle of space, one that happens to have a still-living nun inside of it too. There’s also the interesting backstory of Ensign Hyzdek who, in addition to still dealing with the trauma of being resurrected in the first volume, is dealing with the stress of not being who everyone thinks she is. More fun is had with stories involving weapons that turn people into killers and flowers that feed off the dreams their hate generates. These stories also ratchet up the animosity between Capt. Joshua Rigg and 1st Officer Satalis, setting the stage for the volume’s two-part climax.
That’s “climax” in both senses of the word as, once they’ve arrived at Sagittarius Base, Capt. Rigg treats his crew to 24 hours of alien debauchery. It’s to keep them occupied while he finds out from Admiral Prakash why he’ll be heading into the outer darkness. Not that it matters too much, because Rigg has plans of his own. Plans that come off so smoothly he doesn’t realize the trouble he’s picked up until it’s too late. Which means that the (hopefully forthcoming) vol. 3 is going to be a great time as he deals with this problematic new status quo he’s brought upon himself. Granted, a little more information about the history between himself and the woman he’s doing this for would’ve been appreciated. He’s napalming a lot of bridges for her, after all. Even so, Layman’s clever writing and Chan’s stylish art make vol. 2 just as good as the first.
Now go buy both of them so that Layman doesn’t have to resort to stunts like the (still sure to be good) upcoming “Outer Darkness/Chew” crossover.