Review: Alien #1
I’ve been a fan of the Alien franchise since I saw the first film so many years ago. The series has morphed into so many different directions with each film and comic series taking on their own personality. Despite so many stories already created, there are also so many more concepts to explore and expand upon. Alien #1 marks the franchise’s debut at Marvel. The publisher has shown they’re able to both honor what has come before and expanded upon the past. They’ve done this with their Star Wars comics. This debut hints we’re going to get exactly that as well with this franchise too.
Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Alien #1 takes place in the year 2200, 21 years after the events of Aliens. The story focuses on Gabriel Cruz who’s about to retire and attempt to reconnect with the family still living. While specifics aren’t given so far, it’s clear Cruz has seen some nightmares and suffered personal loss to the xenomorphs. While a lot of it is pretty standard stuff, Johnson teases a few things that will leave fans and readers wondering “what the hell is that!?”.
It’s a solid issue full of build up and leading to the moment we’re really looking for, the xenomorphs getting loose. How Johnson gets there is interesting diving a bit more into the world of Weyland-Yutani and the evil they represent as a corporation. It’s an unexpected direction and gives readers something different than the traditional “bug hunt” I was expecting. There’s a willingness to expand upon things even with this first issue signaling to readers that this isn’t just going to be a retread of concepts with new characters and a new location but it will also build upon the world.
The art by Salvador Larroca is good. The characters look pretty solid though there’s a few panels here and there where the facial expressions don’t really match what you’d expect. Bishop, played in the films by Lance Hendrickson, looks close to the actor and is recognizable. There’s also a nice futuristic feel to the world without it being distracting. The color by Guru-eFX also gives us a “dark” and “foreboding” color palette without the comic feeling down and morose. Clayton Cowles does a solid job of lettering as there are some scenes with a lot of dialogue that flow nicely. There’s some good thought put into the imagery and dialogue in how the two would flow. That’s really evident in a particular scene with Cruz talking to his son where the dialogue runs down the middle of the page adding an element in the discussion between the two.
Alien #1 is a solid start to Marvel’s era with the franchise. It delivers a story that’s familiar in ways but also charts a new course for the property. There’s a willingness to add a little depth here and there without completely going in a different direction. The debut is perfect for long-time fans of the property as well as those new and want a good sci-fi action story with a bit of horror thrown in.
Story: Phillip Kennedy Johnson Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review