In this opening issue to the ongoing title, we meet Gabriel Cruz. A man it seems who is fighting old nightmares and a past that destroyed his family. In a bitter betrayal his estranged son uses his fathers ties as a retired Weyland-Yutani merc to gain access to a secret lab. The result ensures Gabe is left to battle a deadly new breed of xenomorph, in order to save the life of his only surviving son.
It’s been a while now since we first heard the news from Marvel that, thanks to its parent company Disney taking the franchise into the fold, they had the rights to publish the xenomorphs legendary exploits. At first it seems all we would get would be the many variant covers for Marvel’s superhero community and a toothless Disney version of the famous sci-fi icon. But now the wait is over and it is finally here in all it’s glory. The ongoing saga of that ‘other’ über company Weyland Yutani and its attempt to master that which cannot be tamed. And from the start the feel is as much a perfect organism as we’ve ever known, albeit with some new additions to the family.
WRITING: In the run up to the launch of Marvel’s acquisition of the Alien franchise Philip Kennedy Johnson revealed he had unwittingly been preparing for the gig all his life, as he got to see the 1979 film while still underage. And this seems to be no empty boast. Not only is he a dab hand at Marvel horror, after his stint on Marvel Zombies: Resurrection, he also has the ideal handle on the characters and the motivations of the real big bad of the piece. The Company. Wey-Yu.
And with echoes of Ellen and Amanda Ripley, we also have our first introduction to the main character Gabriel Cruz. And his son Danny, the voice of the anti company activist. This is not only the impetus of the cloak and dagger plot, but brings to light some childhood abandonment issues with a familiar feel to it. All of which is a great segue into the motivations of the main cast and the human dilemma we need to draw us in. And even as his son betrays him off panel we are clearly meant to see this from Gabe’s point of view. And as we do we are soon treated to a flashback of a company mission that went south. And more familiar faces.
ART: All of this is hauntingly depicted by artist Salvador Larroca, who not only perfectly captures the likeness of the well known players in the story, but also the right tone for the opening act in every panel layout. Serving some Scott/Cameron style foreboding by only giving us glimpses of the chitinous nightmare, before switching to the present with the red lit sirens. Ratcheting up the panic in the lab finale and the adrenalin rush of the facehuggers escapades. And as the titular character makes its presence known to the trapped marines in flashback, the art does it full justice. Keying off the familiar depiction, the soldiers plight is all too clear with the perfection that is the wet slicked jaws of the xenomorph.
Larroca cited his own fascination with the iconic art of Giger as being a creative reference for him when talking about the project recently in interview. This is borne out in every way as the increased peril of the story is mirrored in his depiction of the unfolding horror. And finally the cover by Inhyuk Lee is as memorable to me as many of it’s predecessors of the Dark Horse era. Get your pulse rifles ready and check your motion sensors. It’s going to get dark soon….mostly.
This is not the Alien I was expecting from Marvel, I was prepared for something far mare subdued and diluted. This is a total surprise to me. Something akin to excitement is stirring deep inside my chest….at least I hope that’s what it is!
Alien #1: Building Familiar Worlds
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 7.5/107.5/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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