John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vault #3
Created & Written by James Ninness
Pencils & Inks by Andres Esparza
Colored by Sergio Martinez
Cover by Tim Bradstreet
Lettered by Janice Chiang
Edited by Sandy King
Published by Storm King Productions
Release Date: September 27, 2017
John Carpenter is known as The Master of Horror. His latest venture though brings him back to his roots; a monthly anthology series called Tales of Science Fiction. The series is under the Storm King Comics banner started by Carpenter and his wife Sandy King. The debut story arc is Vault by writer James Ninness with art from Andres Esparza and Sergio Martinez, and lettering by Janice Chiang. It opened with the crew of spaceship Gaia finding a mysterious alien vessel, Vault, and quickly discovering the ship is harboring some kind of alien menace. Soon, the crew is getting picked off and one crew member is going crazy. This week, the final installment of Vault hits stores, and the fate of the four remaining crew members will be decided.
Check out my review of Vault #3 below.
The shit really hits the fan for the Gaia crew here. Some are infected from a purplish fungus that appears to have come from a Black Hole. As the countdown nears zero and signals impending doom, the Captain and old man Dunfy go on a hunt for monsters while Espinoza stays behind. Unfortunately, last issue we saw that Captain Adamo’s suit was breached and she’s infected. Soon, she’s a raging monster looking to tear any and everything apart. We see through Vault’s screens what happened to the original inhabitants of the ship and it reminds me almost of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and the fate of the Engineers.
The artwork is fantastic here. Esparza and Martinez create monsters with a vibe of King Kong crossed with Resident Evil mutants. There is also a killer monster on monster battle featuring the giant reptilian monster from Vault 2 which feels like a Kong vs. Godzilla homage. Dunfy and Espinoza are left to navigate this alien wasteland as crazy Nguyen communicates directions. All the while, the countdown is ticking away and something even more sinister lurks on the other side of the galaxy.
Vault concludes with some of the coolest imagery I’ve seen in comics. This includes a final page so cool, I want it as a poster on my wall. It also contains a laugh out loud final line. Where Vault 1 & 2 felt like a steady progression and a slow burn with occasional jumps and thrills along the way, this issue is balls to the wall insanity. There is blood and gore is copious amounts, and people and monsters literally being torn to shreds. Ninness told me when I interviewed him a few months back, that one of his inspirations was Danny Boyle’s outer space thriller, Sunshine. That movie is viewed by many critics as a near miss, with many blaming the dramatic shift in tone and genre in the final act. I for one, loved that aspect of the film, and I felt Vault followed as a similar trajectory here.
All in all, this was an excellent 3-issue miniseries that would make a quick and easy read as a compendium. The images and artwork are great, the story pays homage to genre classics and the ending is truly awesome. Thumbs way up for Vault. Vault #3 debuts this week in stores. Next month, Tales of Science Fiction debuts their newest multi-volume story: an 8-issue series called Vortex by Mike Sizemore, Dave Kennedy, and Tim Bradstreet. Storm King Comics will be at New York Comic-Con starting Thursday October 5th at the Jacob Javits Center in midtown Manhattan.
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