John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction Vortex #6 Review: Aliens Meets John Carpenter’s the Thing

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6
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Writer: Mike Sizemore, Artist: Dave Kennedy, Color Artist: Pete Kennedy, Letters: Janice Chiang, Cover by: Tim Bradstreet, Based on a story by John Carpenter and Sandy King, Book Design: Shannon Forrey, Title Treatment: John Galati, Editor: Sandy King, Publisher: Storm King Productions, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

Dixon and Strugatsky are shown investigating a derelict ship caught in some bizarre and horrific anomaly. In the present, Dixon and Taylor’s crew are back on Cheron’s ship, but an infected Sagmander, one of the soldiers from Taylor’s team, climbs aboard the ship and begins destroying its systems.

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6 cover by Tim Bradstreet
John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6 cover by Tim Bradstreet

Vortex #6 brings a tight and fraught full-on action-horror issue to the miniseries. The series has already been channeling such films as Alien and Event Horizon (the latter of which I will forever argue is good), but this issue is even more strongly reminiscent the first two films of the Alien franchise. The infected Sagmander wanders through the tight corridors, tearing open the systems and leaving the crew increasingly helpless along the way.

The body horror element and creature design draw on John Carpenter’s own the Thing, which I cannot believe I haven’t referenced yet while reviewing this series. The tentacles, the contortions, and the characters oh-so-slightly off are all elements that made the Thing what it was.

It works quite well for Vortex too, as this is a highly effective issue. The scene on the derelict ship in the opening is uniquely bizarre and unnerving too, though I can’t do it justice with the description. You’ll just have to look at the below image from the ComiXology preview.

John Carpenters Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6 art by Dave and Pete Kennedy
John Carpenters Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6 art by Dave and Pete Kennedy

Dave Kennedy’s artwork once more impresses with its effective yet cold detailing, each scene given vibrant life by the attention each character and object is given. More shadowing would have helped the atmosphere of this installment, though. Also, the image framings could have more contributed to the claustrophobic aspect of the narrative. Pete Kennedy’s color work is technically solid, but darker shades would have been helpful throughout much of the climax too.

John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Vortex #6 continues the gripping crescendo of this miniseries with this intense issue. The world-building and character development has done a good job of leading to this macabre installment, and the art, while flawed in some ways, does a good job of making the book visually appealing too. This one gets another recommendation. Check it 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.