Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Published by Marvel Comics
Released – Sept 2021
Wow! This INHYUK LEE cover is an absolute stunner. I don’t care that it doesn’t resemble anything the “Alpha” or Alien drone looks like in the comic itself. It’s action, its terror and it is bursting through glass and the cover to attack at a frightening speed.
I love it, and I also love that it detracts from the pretty underwhelming Alpha we were introduced to in the last issue. It offers the promise that, although Marvel has failed to fully grab the reigns of the new Alien franchise, it can attract a wide range of influence from the House of Mouse (Disney) and the undoubted talent it might lure to the fold.
I actually quite enjoyed this issue especially when I gave it a read before the review write-up so as not to write it on first impression. My first impression was actually pretty good too though! . I chewed through it and found it entertaining. I think previous issues had helped me lower my expectations and increased my acceptance of the new audience that Marvel is trying to include and their approach to overseeing this current story. This arc I think is beginning to show that they might be investing in more action-based plots than horror but with a view to creating a bit of new Alien lore and reveals.
We are straight into the action from the start but this is delivered as an introspective insight into Gabe (our main character’s) history. It not only adds character depth it was reminiscent of the good old Dark Horse Comic plots. These few opening pages are pretty impactful and the gravity of the horror that could spread is so well-timed when Johnson writes ” I saw a TIDAL WAVE of living nightmares exploding out of my chest, blanketing the universe ” right before an image of a female resembling humanoid Alien around which there is building mystery and a sense of importance.
We get a nice double-page infographic that helps bring the reader up to speed. The mystery for me here though was that the Alpha Alien depicted was held in the Weyland-Yutani Epsilon station for heaven knows how long and yet with all them scientists not one thought to document things like its size whilst it was in a giant test tube!
As for the main body of the issue, it’s pretty entertaining and rolls along quite well. Two pairs independently trying to trace against time and the ever-present xenomorph threat to the escape craft with an added little twist at the end.
I’ve labored in past reviews about Larocca’s Aliens I don’t want to rehash old ground. Suffice it to say the drones particularly still look a bit frozen but I did find myself smiling in satisfaction at the presentation of the center ( stapled ) pages.
The Alien franchise is taking a new and bold direction in this first story arc. his is a solid issue and I looked forward to #6, titled The Beginning.