John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: The Standoff #1

John Carpenter and Sandy King are teaming up with publisher Storm Kings to bring an all too deadly visitor from far away to Tattersall Supermax Prison. Written by science fiction and horror veteran David J. Schow, and drawn by Andres Esparza. Colors by Sergio Martinez, lettering by Janice Chiang, edited by Sandy King, and featuring the Cover art from Tim Bradstreet.


The synopsis reads:

Tattersall Prison. Max lock. The baddest of the bad. Until something from the night sky crashes into the complex, trapping cons and guards on the inside, cops on the outside, and the escapees in-between. All of them threatened by a hideous invader who needs to take over nice, warm human bodies. It’s a hostage situation. It’s a battle between species. It’s Earth’s most serious standoff.


The story starts with our narrator, one of the few awake so late at night, seeing light screaming through the sky heading directly for the prison. The quiet hours of the twilight are violently thrashed awake and when the opportunity of escape and chaos arises from the explosion in the prison, the prisoners of C-Wing led by Fraiser Bonner capture the guards close by for ransom and make their stand. Bonner’s list of demands include a helicopter to get away from the maximum security prison by 06:00, and he’s already started cutting the throats of the prison guards.


The pacing in the opening frames of the story held my attention, although the writing felt a little flat and the time spent with the characters wasn’t quite enough to start understanding any of their motives. Let’s not forget that this is the first issue in a series, and I wholly appreciate being dropped into a story that has layers in the narrative. The art in The Standoff #1 is fantastic, and while reading the narrative I continuously found my eyes being pulled to look at and soak up all the details in all the panels. The brights are seldom, but perfectly used and the darks are deep with character and intent.

While the plans between Elaine and Jessup roll into motion we see two inmates discovering the gruesome death of a nature that is unlike anything found on Earth. What’s mistaken for a pile of clothes is actually loose skin stuck on the razor wire fence, hanging inert in the air like a flag on the moon.


The nightmare continues when beautiful and bizarre insects descend upon officers and prisoners alike, whom then peel the skin off their own flesh as easy as you peel a banana, and where the skin rips shines a neon bright blue.

As Elaine Farris finds the use of a camera still functioning in the C-Wing of the prison, she sees on screen something of a language that is utterly alien. Elaine comes across the realization that they aren’t dealing with any typical prison break and as the image pans out and she can see a massive flying saucer with the same pink glow as the insects entrenched into the side of the Tattersall.


The stories Sci-fi element and twists are the best kind of bewildering. The latter half of issue 1 rolls with a page-turning pace and new bizarre content in nearly every panel. Nearly every scene hypodermically injects a new batch of questions into your head that I hope to hell get answered soon. Elaine’s reaction and realization to the incident being caused by a UFO make it seem like this isn’t her first tango with ET. Hopefully, she can negotiate through the night and somehow survive this invasive standoff.


Carpenter and Sandy again crack their knuckles and flex their prowess in the world of weird and fun Science Fiction. A brilliant first installment that sets some very interesting pieces on the board. Wonderfully drawn and colored, with an exciting story that buzzes by your ears and gnaws on the back of your neck, leaving you itching for more. ⅘ Stars


Fans of the series attending San Diego Comic-Con can’t miss the Storm King Comics Panel (date & time TBD).
Storm King Comics is celebrating their new storyline with a special augmented reality cover edition as well as their first booth at San Diego Comic-Con. Aliens vs cops with prison inmates in the middle. It’s a hostage situation. It’s a battle between species. It’s the Earth’s most serious standoff. Panelists include Janice Chiang (DC Superhero Girls), Sandy King Carpenter (They Live, Vampires), Tim Bradstreet (Hellblazer, Punisher), David J. Schow (The Crow, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) and more! Giveaway of the first issue in the series for attendees.

Booth # at San Diego Comic Con is 4504