Review by Paul Fiander (@wellbeingosteo)
30 years on and Aliens is still a wonderfully fertile breeding grounds for stories, ranging from video games to books to comics. Dark Horse Comics has a history with the franchise that dates back to 1988. Since then there have been more films and Comics as the universe has expanded beyond its original constraints. Last year we saw the start of the major push from Dark Horse with the Fire and Stone series which was an interconnected look at the Aliens along with Predator, Prometheus and of course huimans. Now though we have something a little different from the pen of Brian Wood.
Simply stated Wood is a superb writer who has the ability to jump genres and still maintain his deep and compelling storytelling. So it was a great sight to see him come on to a book set within the Alien franchise, thankfully this anticipation was justified as we are treated to an opening chapter that introduces us to a conflicted character in a rather unique position. The character is Private First Class Zula Hendricks and she is a Colonial Marine, so far so good now for the spanner. Despite appearances Hendricks has an issue that should probably keep her out of deep space defence but when Wetland Yutani need to kick something the Marines are their first point of call. There is of course a problem, these Xenomorphs are more than capable of kicking back.
There are multiple conflicts going on within the book but Hendrick’s past and present are the most compelling. There are hints as to what has happened in her life but I hope and expect things will connect to light in future issues. As for the Alien issue this is where artistic team Tristan Jones (line art) & Dan Jackson (colours) get to join the party. Their visuals related to the Xenomorphs are unsettling in the beast possible wat. They exude menace and you can almost see the drool falling out of their mouths in every close up panel. In contrast to this more intimate view we get some immense depictions of space and the craft used to traverse its furthest reaches. The character work may not be to everyone's taste but I like the use of shadow and the tension Jones puts on his characters. These touches help to understand the motivations of the characters as well as their true feelings from panel to panel.
All in all this is a great addition to the Alien franchise and a wonderful springboard for what promises to be an intriguing series.