John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction Vortex #4 Review: Delightfully Disgusting Body Horror

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #4
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Writer: Mike Sizemore, Artist: Dave Kennedy, Color Artist: Pete Kennedy, Letters: Janice Chiang, Cover by: Tim Bradstreet, Editor: Sandy King, Based on a story by John Carpenter and Sandy King, Book Design: Shannon Forrey, Title Treatment: John Galati Publisher: Storm King Productions, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

The team at the mining facility is left reeling from the discovery of Sinclair, the young woman who was a part of Dixon’s initial investigation team, still alive. The facility was left decompressed and vulnerable to the deathly cold of space after Dixon and Cheron escaped in the initial visit. Her survival should be impossible. Plus, there are communication problems between the mining facility and the space station.

Meanwhile, Doctor Grigory’s examination of Josie takes an even stranger turn.

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #4 cover by Tim Bradstreet
John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #4 cover by Tim Bradstreet

Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex begins to ramp up once more as the situations on the Benson Space Station and the mining facility intensify. Sinclair’s unexplainable survival as well as other bizarre occurrences in the mining facility worsen the already tense relationship between Dixon, Anderson, and Taylor’s team.

Andersen’s ploy takes more “shape” as he continues to manipulate everyone with whom he comes into contact. Vortex #4 has a couple of startling reveals in that regard that will likely leave you staring at the page in shock.

The layouts and art play up the horror angle very well. Comics and regular novels have to get creative when portraying horror given that the impetus is left in the hands of the reader to experience the terror. Films and, to a similar degree, video games advance of their own accord and can take the agency of forward motion away.

Vortex’s layout sidesteps this issue by throwing the shock at you after a page turn. It can still employ subtlety in the progression — giving you figures in the background or just unnerving behavior. It also steps into the realm of body horror, providing imagery so disgusting that you just can’t feel comfortable while viewing it.

Once more, Dave and Pete Kennedy provide some phenomenal work in rendering the world of Vortex. The impeccable detail makes the horrific scenes all the more visceral and palpable. Pete Kennedy’s ability to play with color and lighting ups the ante on many a chilling scene. These two make Vortex a gorgeously macabre visual experience.

Vortex #4 ramps up the fear and violence in a way that feels natural after #3’s slower burn. Sizemore and the Kennedys do it once more with this issue, and it Vortex receives another recommendation. Check this one out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.