Advance Review: Holographic Horrors Threaten To Sink The Ship In ‘Outer Darkness/Chew’ #3

by Olly MacNamee

What started off as a straight forward enough mission for the Charon, in deep space, has turned into a living nightmare. Well, a holographic nightmare, but one that’s solid and substantial enough too create havoc amongst the crew of The Charon. And that was before the demonic possession of the ship’s holosseum transforming the supporting cast of Chew – summoned by Tony Chu and John Colby last issue – into demonic versions of themselves. Talk about a stubborn computer virus. This one’s a doozy. I can’t see any Apple Guru fixing this problem any time soon. So, it’s up to both Tony and Captain Rigg to jump into action and prevent yet another life-threatening disaster from engulfing the ship. All in a day’s work for Rigg and crew then, as anyone will tell you if they’ve ever read Outer Darkness. Working on the Charon makes working on the USS Enterprise seem like a day at the beach in comparison. Especially as one of those reconstituted holograms happens to be the unstoppable Poyo. Although any ensign working on either ship may not recognise any difference, especially when it comes to they’re career prospects, if you know what I mean. Ensign Zyryjix does, sadly.

Ensign Zyryjix learns the hard way that a career in space isn’t for everyone.

John Layman is clearly having fun in his returnto the Chew-niverse, but with the news that Outer Darkness is not being renewed for a further series by Image/Skybound Comics, it’s a bitter-sweet read for us fans of Outer Darkness. While there is the promise of a new Chew-niverse book this July with Chu, this final issue of this wonderfully preposterous and enjoyable cross-over could well be the last we see of Captain Rigg and his crew as they set sail into the vastness of space one last time.

Afu Chan has done a sterling job on creating a futuristic world that is a well-balanced mix of both science fiction and horror and his tale of the denizens of the Chew series has been part of the draw of this book, given so few artists have actually visualised Tony and his friends and foes. The inclusion of Poyo – as well as other stand-out moments of this concluding issue – keeps the humour up with a good dose of horror coming towards the end of this book when Tony and John – all too aware they are holograms – embrace their destiny. Although, there’s always one or two loose ends that could come back to bite Rigg and company in the future.
In Outer Darkness you get a great blend of horror, humour and science fiction. Add Chew into the mix and you get an even more bonkers book, as the sensibilities of the latter series smash into the Charon and create a totally ridiculous situation that’s just great to sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy. Outer Darkness may be like a punch-drunk boxer staring up from the floor, but whether it is down and out will remain to be seem. But for now, I did enjoy this particular voyage across the bloody stars.
Outer Darkness/Chew #3 is out Wednesday 24th June from Image Comics/Skybound

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