Guest Review: Vortex #1

Guest Writer: Katherine Cooper Butland

– This review was brought to you by the gift of a review copy, the letters QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.

Writer: Mike Sizemore
Art and colors: Dave Kennedy

Vortex is a new horror comic written by Mike Sizemore, with art and colours by Dave Kennedy, and is published by Storm King comics. It comes from John Carpenter’s new monthly anthology series, Tales of Science Fiction. The story is based on one written by him and Sandy King.

Cover of Vortex #1

Cover of Vortex #1 © Storm King Productions

The art style is pleasing, with a minimal use of colour due to the theme of space exploration. It’s dark, but when the light comes through, it’s surprisingly beautiful. When the colour comes through, though, well… it’s often a shade of red.

Vortex tells the story of a flight crew starting a new mission to explore a mining asteroid in an attempt to solve a mystery. They’re looking to find out why the communication signal from the workers on the asteroid went mysteriously dead. Readers get an idea of why this is in the opening pages of the comic, but it isn’t until much later that the story becomes more revealing.

The story follows the, apparently, rather disliked Jake Dixon, a captain of a ship who puts together a crew to explore. He is given the ill-reputed pilot, Cheron, to fly the ship, and an unlikely crew—including the laid-back Bear, and the inexperienced Sinclair—to help with the exploration.

Stylistically, I appreciated that each speaker was labelled during exploration scenes. This allowed me to identify the speaking character while retaining the immersive aesthetic of space exploration. It was done in such a way so as to actually make sense from an in-universe perspective, which is a nice little bonus.

Vortex appears to be setting the stage for something really interesting. We don’t know why Jake Dixon is so disliked, but it appears to have something to do with the murder of one character’s husband, which other characters either seem to sympathize with, or loathe him entirely for.

This blend of science fiction, mystery, and horror will grab the attention of fans of Dead Space, Parasyte, or the Alien movies. It isn’t just the space and the horror that are interesting, though. Each character appears to have a history—some even appear to have a dark past—that will leave the reader intrigued.

We’re given only a sneak peek at what may be causing the carnage at the mining asteroid at the end of #1, and I’m certainly interested in finding out more about the story and characters in issues to come.

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