Last month, Black Mask Studios released a sci fi horror comic that delivered oozing creepiness in massive quantities. Coming out of nowhere it would seem, The Disciples captured my imagination and my fear, delivering a very strong and powerful first issue that promised more to come. Following a time in the not so distant future, The Disciples follow a “rescue” mission being carried out by three space mercenaries named Dagmar, Rick, and Jules, headed toward the Jupitar moon of Ganymede. The person in need of “rescue” is a wayward daughter of a very powerful senator who has fallen prey to a religious cult. Making it particularly interesting is the fact that this cult has been founded by a billionaire industrialist named McCauley Richmond who has reached out into the openness (and freedom) of space to allow him the opportunity to be as a god, having a following and a remote location to do whatever it is he wants to do, without the prying eyes of authority.
Issue #1 began the journey and provided the reader with an ill omen and some pretty intense reality, even before our crew had made it to the Jupiter moon. As we were left with a big reveal, writer Steve Niles and artist Christopher Mitten placed us on a horrific ledge, not knowing what would come next. I know that after reading the opening, I was not sure where things would go next. But I did know that I would be back on that journey.
So here we are at Issue #2. And in finishing it, I can say that Niles and Witten do not disappoint. Things are picked right back up where they left us at #1 with even more danger/threats occurring. Putting our characters (and the reader) on dark notice. But as fast as these things happen, they are gone…Poof.
Was it all a hallucination? If so, why did everyone see the same thing? Was there some bizarre and weird science stuff at play causing what was seen to be seen? Who knows? Niles leaves us hanging. That is, until another “event” occurs that definitely is not a hallucination.
Issue #2 continues down the dark and treacherous slope from #1 as our crew make it to the moon and find the colony intact, but without anyone there at least as far as they can tell. It looks as if everyone just left. Still though, someone had to let them inside the colony. So someone must be there. Right? As the last page turns, we do find out that something is there. But that something may not be what our crew is wanting to see.
The sense of dread presented to near perfection in the first issue not only continues in #2. It actually gets upped a notch. As you read this comic, the feeling that is instilled is a sense of remoteness, loneliness, and dread. As a reader, you feel awfully alone. Like no one will be able to hear your screams should something happen to you. And as things play out throughout the issue, that sense of dread only continues, interspersed with quick shocks and twirls that throw you off balance.
To say that The Disciples will make you paranoid is an understatement. I actually found myself looking over my shoulder as I read it. The sense of something sinister and unknown is thick, slapped on with each written word by Niles. It is super creepy…And…Delightful.
Adding to that building dread and doom is the art of Christopher Mitten. Everything in the visuals are cold, dark, and empty. It feels dead and lifeless, but intentionally though. That depiction helps to build on the increasing paranoia delivered by Niles. One really nice touch I have found in Mitten’s art are the silky trails that are left by the ship as the approach to Ganymede is depicted. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the trails somehow add to the sense of death and doom, almost like the ship is slowly bleeding to death and leaving a trail of its demise for all to see.
All I know for certain two issues into this disturbing sci fi is that it kills (pun intended) on delivering the dark thrills and chills that make for a strong horror comic. We still have no idea of really anything happening so far other than some very haunting visuals and some peculiar occurrences. The meat of the story still awaits us. Giving me a very strong desire to continue to read this one until its eventual end. Keep bringing on the darkness guys. I am leaving the lights on high from here on out.