Review: The Disciples #1

It would appear that the horror genre of comics has been off to a brisk start the first half of 2015.  In particular, the sci fi horror tale has gained some renewed traction and print recently.  I am not going to lie to you.  Ever since I was a young kid (way too many years ago), I have had a keen liking to the possibilities of the sci fi horror story.  There is just something about ancient evils and future technology meshed together and thrown into the backdrop of cold space that send shivers up my spine just thinking about it.  It is scary, and sweet. Maybe I watched Alien too much back in the day.  I don’t know.  I do know though that this liking has followed me into my adult years. So when I saw a preview recently of The Disciples #1And I saw that it had macabre word maestro Steve Niles attached to it…Well, I just had to check it out. Adding Umbral and Criminal Macabre artist Christopher Mitten to the mix was simply icing on the cake to me.  A potential perfect blending of the dark and disturbed ready for some creepy entertainment reading.

Taking place in the near future, The Disciples #1 tells the story of Dagmar, Rick, and Jules regarding their hunt to find the wayward teen daughter of a powerful Senator who has paid our team of fortune soldiers to go to the Jupiter moon of Ganymede and “rescue” the young lady from a group of cultists who have her brainwashed and lost.

On the surface, this sounds easy enough.  After all, it has now become accepted practice for the very wealthy and elite to reach out to the openness of space in order to colonize areas away from jurisdictions and laws, so declare themselves as gods, fresh with loyal and devoted followings.   Ganymede is no different, as it is the colony of one billionaire industrialist named McCauley Richmond who has started such a following.

The-Disciples-#1-1But as you read through the pages, you begin to get a feel that this particular colony and its inhabitants might be a little bit different from the mindless drones that are associated with such places.  There might just be something a little more sinister going on here.

The Disciples #1 starts with a bad omen or a “weirdmare” if you will.  It then relaxes its tone as we follow the banter of our team and get a brief history lesson as well as the mission directives.  The ending follows up by delivering a rather rude awaking once the team gets close to their destination.

All in all, The Disciples #1 is a pretty solid read, even though it felt really quick for some reason. I guess I was expecting a little more anticipatory fear build.  You won’t get that here as Niles goes for the gusto early and looks to be taking the reader down some awfully dark places before all is said and done.   And I am perfectly fine with that.

Pacing wise, Niles has always been good at hitting high notes in limited space. Nothing changes here on The Disciples as he introduces us to the characters, makes them very likable, and delivers us to oblivion on what is set up to be one of those real easy missions that pay big. Careful what you wish for with those kind of jobs.  If this issue is any indication, “easy” is not going to be even remotely feasible.

Christopher Mitten’s art has always had a haunting, yet lovely quality to it.  It can repulse you, yet draw you in at the same time.  Like Niles, Mitten drops us into the dark for a quick taste early, puts us back on solid ground, then pulls the rug out from underneath our feet with a final rendering that I can only describe as disturbing.

But in a sci fi twisty horror tale like The Disciples, disturbing is exactly what I am looking for.  Niles and Mitten have got the ball rolling at a good pace with Issue #1. I give additional credit to Jay Fotos as well for the color hues of blues and blacks that work well in bringing the shiver to the work and complete this fine opening salvo.  With these three bringing it early, I am looking forward to see how far into the darkness we will sink.  As for now, based on Issue #1, I am going to say it looks like it is going to be one big deep sink.

Score: 4/5

The Disciples #1 Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Christopher Mitten Colorist: Jay Fotos Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/10/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital