Script by Chris Roberson
Art by Patric Reynolds
Colors by Dave Stewart
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 9/24/14
Aliens. The ultimate in science fiction Survival horror. A franchise celebrating its 35 year and still going strong albeit it’s arguably simple premise: We are the prey, they are the hunters, can you survive.
Fans of the franchise will notice the starting location of this series, LV-426 / Acheron, the moon where the series began. In ‘Alien’ the distress signal emitted from here, and where Ellen Ripley returned to after Contact was lost with a Terraforming colony on the planet In ‘Aliens’. This mini-series starts on the date contact was lost.
The construction of the first page certainly makes no bones about the feral nature of the Alien. Those people of the Hadley’s Hope colony who have not been pinned by the spindly alien limbs are scattering fear, panic, both etched across their faces.
I don’t believe I’ve experienced Patric Reynolds’ work before. Combined with Dave Stewart’s muddy hues, his heavy use of deep black for areas unaffected by a light source really allows focus to be drawn onto body shape and facial expression. A competence perfectly suited when his subject are the human form and H R Giger’s iconic Alien configuration, and a necessity when the back drop in space and on foreign planets can be so barren. My one real let down involving the artwork pertains to a space ship crash (and you can explore the context of the crash for yourself), partly its down to the original design decisions in the film series and their blocky nature, but apart from a bit of smoke the ship looks like its simply embedded into the landscape rather than it having crashed.
Chris Roberson is listed as “script” on the credits page, which to me is quite interesting terminology. The terms we are used to seeing are “story” and “written by” so whether he is graciously alluding to expanding the story of the Alien franchise or whether the story and direction have been created elsewhere may be open to interpretation. What can’t be argued about is that “script” involves character and portrayal.
Three main characters take the lead roles. Derrick Russell, Engineer and man in charge of the colony (His narration leads us through the story). Genevieve Dionne, Greenhouse Supervisor and teacher. Nolan Cale, Surveyor and Prospector.
I mentioned the Hunter / Prey, arguably simplistic nature of the premise earlier, and the success of the Alien franchise survives on the characters involved in the story, their quest for survival, and whether you are drawn into the story well enough to care about one or all of their survival. Though not yet fully explored, all three characters are well-rounded and individual, but I’m unsure whether I am completely convinced and invested yet. It’s a promising start, but what intrigues me more is the mystery introduced midway through the issue.
What’s here is good. Building on the franchise with extrapolation on events, but accessible to those who may not have dabbled within the series before. Keeping well within what Alien is known for. So if you have a hankering for survival horror, this will satisfy you’re craving.