Hey guys, Anthony here, your friendly neighbourhood editor with another comics review. This time around we’re looking at Astronaut Down #1, published by the sci-fi horror apothecaries over at Aftershock Comics.
- Written by James Patrick
- Art by Rubine
- Covert art by Rubine
- Cover price: $4.99
- Release date: June 8, 2022
- Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Getting stuck into Astronaut Down and the name alone fits the overall theme of the comic. The name evokes a shrill terror that gnaws at the back of your neck. A terror that chomps at you like an alien parasite intent on draining you of your very life force.
Oh, the Horror, in Astronaut Down
Written by James Patrick and with art by Rubine, we’re quickly introduced to a near future in which the entire world is on the brink of total collapse. The world has 14 “barrier” cities left and those barrier cities are holding at bay the main antagonist of this series – the Quantum Mutation. A rather Stephen King/John Carpenter-esque fog filament which is threatening life on the entire planet as we know it. Or, at least, that’s the subtext. Thankfully, the Quantum Mutation, is being held at bay by energy fields thanks to some bullshit gobbledygook science which we’ll wait for Patrick to explain in a future issue.
With the threat abundantly clear, we’re introduced to a gallery of characters bucking for the role in what appears to be a shuttle launch. As constant chatter about only three astronauts making it through to be chosen for the “mission” takes up page after page after page. The tone takes a bizarre turn as revelry and celebration is exchanged when the final three astronauts are chosen. Bizarre that the celebration is juxtaposed by the reality that the launch is a suicide mission. So there’s a certain degree of bleakness in the air as you turn each page.
James Patrick’s writing in Astronaut Down #1
What elevates this first issue of Astronaut Down is James Patrick’s ability to layer the elements of a coming apocalypse in a way that is believable. There’s a terrifying nuance to what Patrick has created along the way in his script development, from the screaming figures throughout the suicidal mission to the religious zealots accusing the astronauts of going against god’s will. A clear and uncomfortable reminder of far right conservative facism projecting bigotry through a thin veil of religion.
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Rubine’s Horrific Imagery in Astronaut Down #1
The horror in this comic book is due to no small efforts by artist Rubine. Rubine manages to create an uncomfortable, isolating and claustrophobic death sequence which tears at the psyche of the reader’s own fear construct. What makes someone truly afraid is ripped from your mind and stitched onto the pages of Astronaut Down that a poorly sewn transfer of skin. It’s there, throbbing at the core of what makes dying during a science experiment truly terrifying.
Astronaut Down is a new take on sci-fi horror. It bears down on uncomfortable social political truths that we still haven’t addressed as a civilisation (science vs religion) whilst providing an uneasy commentary on the hero worship dealt out to those laying their lives on the line. Only this isn’t a war, this is a battle of the survival and the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been: victory or extinction. Sci-fi has never been so many punishing. You’ll love every moment of this comic book.
Have you checked out Astronaut Down yet?
Have you checked out Astronaut Down yet? Did you hate it or rate it?
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