John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vault #2
Created & Written by James Ninness
Pencils & Inks by Andres Esparza
Colored by Sergio Martinez
Cover by Cat Staggs
Lettered by Janice Chiang
Edited by Sandy King
Published by Storm King Productions
Release Date: August 30th, 2017
Even though he’s known as the Master of Horror, John Carpenter is a visionary of science fiction as well. With films like Dark Star (1974), The Thing (1982), Starman (1984), and They Live (1987) under his belt, it’s safe to say he knows his way around space, aliens, and outer-worldly beings. Earlier this summer, he began his latest venture in the world of genre with Tales of Science Fiction, a monthly anthology series under the label of Storm King Comics, started by him and his wife Sandy King Carpenter. The first story is Vault, a three-issue space tale about a crew that finds a mysterious ship and encounters horror onboard. Reminiscent of films like Event Horizon and Aliens, author James Ninness introduces a colorful array of characters… and then leads them into certain doom. Issue #1 was released on July 26, 2017, with the second issue in the three-volume series hitting stores this week.
Check out my review for Vault #2 here below.
The crew of Gaia has descended onto Vault, an alien spacecraft with bizarrely written messages in English. When we left the crew, an unknown entity had killed several crew members, others had suit ruptures, and they were losing their grips. After analyzing some of the alien slime left behind on one of the victims, the crew assess that the lifeforms on board are cold blooded, and resemble something akin to earthly gila monsters. At this point, one of the crew members, Nguyen, discovers an alien locked a cryo-chamber… a green lizard-ish female… and he is quite awe-struck. The beautiful artwork by Andres Esparza and Sergio Martinez immediately drew comparisons to the female alien in Species (1995).
Meanwhile, other members of the crew are in different parts of the ship, searching, scanning, running tests, etc. Whereas Vault #1 felt like the space marines in Aliens encountering a new enemy, this volume reminded me of the original Alien, a more “haunted house in space” feel to it, where the characters branch off in pairs and are threatened by various evil forces. On Vault, we meet the main evil force, a gigantic green monster, a cross between Godzilla and Lizard from Spider-Man. It’s the male who wants his female back, and will ravage the Gaia crew to get her.
We leave the crew in shambles. Nguyen has gone deliciously insane, more excited by the alien monsters than scared. Captain Adamo is a strong female lead in the great tradition of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, but she’s a leader of less and less as more are picked off by the demons of Vault. Creator James Ninness pays homage to some of the greatest stories in the sci-fi genre, and manages to craft something wholly unique out of the pieces. The Vault comic flies by, and leaves you wanting more. I feel like Vault would make a fun movie, or even a cool Syfy channel series. The individual characters are fun enough to make me want more from them, and Nguyen in particular is really entertaining in a very creepy way!
Ninness and his team, including artists Esparza and Martinez and letterer Janice Chiang, pack a ton of great outerspace imagery and violence into this package. I can’t wait for the finale!
John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vault #2 arrives in stores this week. The finale, Part 3 of the Vault saga, comes out on September 27th, and then Tales of Science Fiction will pick up a new story in the following months.