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Review: Alien #2

Alien #2

The comics for the “Alien universe” is now at Marvel kicking off a new era for the classic film franchise. The debut issue set up what we can expect from this new era, a little new but a lot of what’s expected. Alien #2 builds upon that with some interesting underlying details that make for a solid second issue.

Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, the second issue throws Gabriel Cruz into the thick of it. Gabe’s son has been pinned in the attack on the Epsilon Station and it’s not surprising that Gabe is being pulled back in by Weyland-Yutani due to that. The company has decided to blackmail Gabe to retrieve some of their science experiments from the station or the attack will be pinned on him. The result is a tense situation that evokes classic gathering of soldiers to take on the mysterious xenomorph.

Johnson does an excellent job at the build-up to this issue and through the issue. Gabe is presented as a rough father but the situation he’s placed in is one we can all understand. There’s a deeper motive to Gabe’s coming conflict beyond the usual “bug hunt”. This is a father attempting to protect the son with who he has an estranged relationship. There’s a deeper aspect to the comic this way and separates it from conflict just due to Weyland-Yutani’s business.

The blackmail adds a layer to the situation. There’s no way we should trust what was promised to Gabe and throughout the issue, I was looking to see if Gabe believes that as well. He’s presented as a veteran and smart in his actions, unlike his rather gung-ho companions, and he’s clearly thought out what he’s stepping into. It’s an interesting aspect seeing the veteran deal with “rookies”, a bit like Ripley in Aliens.

Johnson also understands some of the appeal of the films is the tension and suspense. He mixes the horror of the first film with that of the action of the second. There’s a progression in the issue as we await the reveal of xenomorphs. It’s something we know is coming, we just don’t know.

That tension is helped by Salvador Larroca‘s art. It’s nice and serves the second issue well. Joined by Guru-eFX on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering, there’s a nice aspect to the art and delivering the mix of action and tension you’d want. It’d be easy to go too far one way or another but there’s a balance her. There’s a sense of horror at the right moments and when the action really gets rolling Larroca’s art begins to really stand out.

Alien #2 is one that fans of the franchise will want to check out. It blends what works so well for the series taking the best of everything and mixing it together to expand the world and also celebrate it.

Story: Phillip Kennedy Johnson Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Alien #2

Alien #2

(W) Phillip Kennedy Johnson (A) Salvador Larroca (CA) Inhyuk Lee
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Apr 21, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THE RETURN TO EPSILON!
• Cruz has only one chance to save his son from the horrific fate he barely escaped.
• The clock toward total collapse is ticking.
• The aliens are loose.

Alien #2

Review: Alien #1

Alien #1

In Alien #1, we meet Gabriel. He’s been in space for a very long time and was once captured by a brutal and violent xenomorph breed. While there’s no idea of how he escaped, he’s haunted by his dreams full of xenomorphs and his companions meeting their painful demises. He heads back home to an adult son that wants nothing to do with them, other than stealing what information he can to prepare for an assault of Weyland-Yutani, the corporation that sent his father to space. It doesn’t work out for the son as he’s now trapped in a lab full of the same creatures that are haunting his father’s every sleeping moment.

I’m a big fan of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s work on Last God so I was pulled into reading Marvel’s big launch of Alien. That said, the second Alien movie is the last time I liked the Xenomorphs so it’s not the easiest sell for me. Aside from Warren Ellis’ butcher job on the Stormwatch characters, I’ve probably never read another Aliens-themed comic.

The problem with that is that I’m not sure this is the book that’s going to get me to want to read more of this world. The character work on this first issue leaves me wanting a bit more. Gabriel and the various Bishop cyborgs have some personality but everyone else is written as if they are just pages away from an untimely demise. Maybe I’m hoping for more out of this property but I’m definitely wanting something more out of my reading experience. Overall, I think the story is okay. In fact, I’d say the opening scene of this helps establish what Gabriel’s ordeal is fairly well. Sadly, I’m hoping Jr. gets his in a most brutal fashion. The reader isn’t given much reason to like him.

To be truthful, I wish for less photo-realism here and do not like the art. Salvador Larroca’s photo-referenced art just doesn’t do it for me and makes Aliens look rather bland. I know it’s not really Larroca’s fault. He was on Star Wars for quite a while and there’s an expectation that the SW characters look a lot like what you see them as in the movies. People would want the Bishops to look like Lance Henriksen and he does illustrate with a good amount of detail on the aliens but his characters just look so stiff and weird. I recognize the skill to work on a book like this but it’s just not pleasurable to me.

Maybe what I want out of this is too much or maybe the Alien comics just aren’t for me. That said, this is a $4.99 comic book and I don’t feel like the cost is worth it. Alien #1 is a fairly average story with average art. The world won’t end if you don’t get it.

Story: Phillip Kennedy Johnson Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 6.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.5

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Review: Alien #1

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


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Alien #1

Alien #1

(W) Phillip Kennedy Johnson (A) Salvador Larroca (CA) Inhyuk Lee
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 24, 2021
SRP: $4.99

THE ICONIC CINEMATIC TERROR MAKES ITS MARVEL DEBUT!
Gabriel Cruz gave his life to Weyland-Yutani–In the case of an alien attack he barely survived, almost literally! Recently retired, Cruz is trying to patch things up with his abandoned son with the help of his friend, a Bishop-model android, but his re-entry into civilian life is not going smoothly…and his encounters with the deadly Xenomorph are far from over. Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca team up to tell an all-new tale of the titan of horror and science fiction that has scared audiences for decades. No one is safe. No one is innocent. And no one can hear you scream.

Alien #1

A Cinematic Horror Makes its Marvel Debut. Watch the Alien #1 Trailer

ALIEN is coming! Marvel’s first venture into the iconic—and terrifying—world of the ALIEN franchise arrives next month. This exploration of never-before-seen corners of the Alien universe will entertain both longtime fans and newcomers to the legendary horror/science-fiction saga as writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson, artist Salvador Larroca, and colorist GURU-eFX tell an all-new tale of the titan of horror and science fiction that has scared audiences for decades.

The new series will introduce readers to Gabriel Cruz who years ago almost literally gave his life to Weyland-Yutani when he barely survived an alien attack. Recently retired, Cruz is trying to patch things up with his abandoned son with the help of his friend, a Bishop-model android, but his re-entry into civilian life is not going smoothly…and his encounters with the deadly Xenomorph are far from over. No one is safe. No one is innocent. And no one can hear you scream. See the terrors in store in this all-new thrilling trailer, featuring never-before-seen artwork from the highly anticipated issue.

Don’t miss this historic addition to the Alien legacy when ALIEN #1 arrives on March 24th featuring a cover by InHyuk Lee.

Preview: King in Black: Captain America #1

King in Black: Captain America #1

(W) Danny Lore (A) Mirko Colak (CA) Salvador Larroca
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 03, 2021
SRP: $4.99

BLACK HISTORY MONTH VARIANT COVER BY ERNANDA SOUZA
Captain America is in a brutal battle to win the streets of Manhattan back from Knull’s forces, aided by the Winter Soldier and the Falcon…but there’s a darkness inside Steve that he’s struggling to shake. Can his closest friends help him through, or will he succumb to the shadows? Danny Lore (IRONHEART 2020) and Mirko Colak (DEADPOOL, PUNISHER) join forces for a twisted and terrifying story at the heart of the war against Knull!

King in Black: Captain America #1

Preview: Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1

(W) Chris Claremont (A) Brett Booth, Bill Sienkiewicz, More (CA) Salvador Larroca
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 13, 2021
SRP: $4.99

Celebrate Chris Claremont’s enormous impact on your favorite Marvel comics of the past five decades with an all-new story! Dani Moonstar is drafted for a mission across time and space for an incredible psychic showdown against the Shadow King-joining forces with characters created and defined by the pen of Chris Claremont!

Chris Claremont Anniversary Special #1

Preview: King in Black: Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1

King in Black: Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1

(W) Christopher Cantwell (A/CA) Salvador Larroca
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 30, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Iron Man has risked everything to save Eddie Brock, but now he’s left with nothing but guilt. As longtime ‘frenemy’ Doctor Doom shows up with both counseling words and ulterior motives, they’lll be forced to battle an all-too-familiar specter of the holiday season-albeit one now twisted and controlled by the recent invasion of Earth by the symbiote homeworld. As Iron Man and Doom fight as temporary allies, their unexpected encounter both with each other and a horrifying inversion of yuletide joy may ultimately reveal to them the true meaning of Knull-mas.

King in Black: Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1

MMA, Alien, Future State, and Superman, Phillip Kennedy Johnson Talks about his Busy 2021 in Comics

Coming off of his well reviewed indie graphic novel Kill a Man (with Steve Orlando, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell), Johnson sets his sites on two hot properties… one at Marvel and one at DC!

Joined by artist Salvador Larroca, Phillip launches the Alien franchise at Marvel with Alien #1 in March 2021!

In January, Johnson takes us to the future as part of DC’s Future State! He gives us a glimpse of what might be with Future State: House of El, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski and Superman: Worlds of War, by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Mikel Janín.

In March we get the first tease of his recently announced take on Superman in Infinite Frontier #0 with artist Jamal Igle.

Then in March Johnson takes over Superman with artist Phil Hester and Action Comics with Eric Gapstur and is then joined in the coming months by Scott Godlewski (on Superman) and Daniel Sampere (on Action Comics) before reuniting with Future State: Superman: Worlds of War co-creator Mikel Janín on a special project that hasn’t been announced!

We’re talking MMA, Superman, Alien, 5G, and so much more!

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