Review: The Arms Are Strong And The Reach Is Long – ‘We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1’

by Brendan M. Allen

For fans of Decorum and Something is Killing the Children comes a new sci-fi epic from Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and Simone Di Meo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers). Captain Malik and the crew of the Vihaan II harvest resources from the giant corpses of alien gods found on the edge of human space.
While other autopsy ships race to salvage the meat, minerals, and metals that sustain the human race, Malik sees an opportunity to finally break free from this system by being the first to find a living god. But Malik’s obsession with the gods will push his crew into danger at the darkest reaches of space and face — unless the rogue agent on their trail can stop them first…

Publisher’s blurb pretty well covers everything that happens in We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1. Captain Malik and his crew harvest resources from giant alien god corpses. It’d be a good gig, if there weren’t so many other crews scrambling for the same goods. Malik, who’s kind of got an obsession with the giants, decides maybe their odds would be better hunting, rather than scavenging. (Not going to call that one a spoiler, since it’s right up there in the solicit.)
You know, they’re calling them autopsy ships, but let’s call a spade a spade. These crews are butchers. They’re incredibly quick and efficient, but they’re in it for the cash, exploiting whatever resource they can lay claim to. 
Al Ewing really uses this first chapter to set the scene for what comes later. This isn’t a completely unique premise. We’ve seen space pirates, scavengers, and colonists. Rogue ship captain? Check. Plucky crew? You got it. Overzealous law enforcement breathing down their necks the whole time? Also, yes. The payload itself? That’s new and interesting.  

Simone Di Meo’s artwork is a perfect fit for this story.  His clean, futuristic style works equally well in the wide open expanse of space as they do in the tight quarters of the interior shots. 
Characters and ships are unique and memorable. Layouts are dynamic and interesting. And, holy hell, those armored giant corpses are fantastic, especially when the cutting lasers are applied. 
We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 is a very solid first chapter. The next issue is really what’s going to either sell this thing or kill it for me. This installment reads almost like a #0, a preamble to the real action, which works. I just hope this thing really pops off in the second chapter.  

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1, BOOM! Studios, 02 September 2020. Written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Simone Di Meo with color assists by Mariasara Miotti, letters by AndWorld Design, covers by Simone Di Meo, Matias Bergara, Jenny Frison, and Toni Infante, logo by Christian Ward.

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