WILLIAM GIBSON’S ALIEN 3 #5
As the survivors attempt to escape the station and the Alien they decide on separating on different missions, to best aid their departure. Bishop heads out to disengage safety protocols and allow them to leave but has an accident. Meanwhile Hicks discovers the fate of Fox and takes decisive action. As the few survivors make it to the exit they are cornered by the Wellesxeno and lose some of their own before the arrival of the true xenomorph, who actually helps by taking out it’s rival, before picking up where the other left off. Just as all seem lost they are saved by the timely arrival of Chang, who takes out the final threat. When the dust settles and Bishop, Hicks, Chang and Spence arrive at the Kansas City, Bishop clears them all of infection but relays the news that Chang is dying of radiation poisoning and gives Hicks some home truths.
In reviewing this title in it’s totality I think it best to break it down and separate Gibson’s script from Johnnie’s adaptation, as he obviously had limited control over the plot and how to move it along within the confines of the story as a whole.
William Gibson’s Story: In comparison to the finished Alien 3 movie I have to say it stands up well and is just as deserving of acclaim. While it didn’t try to reinvent the wheel it also kept largely faithful to the legacy. And strangely even managed to predate some of the body horror elements of the more recent prequels. And with nods to the second movie, such as Bishop crawling the ducts and blowing the Alien out the airlock (tried and trusted methodology there) it at least kept to the genealogy of the franchise.
Not blockbuster night, popcorn munching amazing, but then the same could be said of Fincher’s version. It was most definitely not failing comparatively speaking, by any stretch of the imagination. The opening was more organic than Fincher’s story and the transition from slow burn, right up to the final act was well paced. The only slight drawback was the distinct lack of Ripley. At the start I was eager to see Hicks, Newt and Bishop take center stage and let her recover a little, but by the third issue I was screaming for her to make her entrance and show them how it’s done. Though both Hicks and Bishop stepped up to the plate admirably.
The script clearly placed Ripley in there as a survivor, so having her sleep through most of the movie would have done Weaver a tremendous disservice, though the end gave her a better fate than the movie. It has to be said that this final issue felt a little rushed, compared to the other four chapters. Nevertheless it still kept true to the mythos in all. So much happened here it was dizzying and disorienting, but I feel that was the intent. It was almost a reverse body count of Aliens, where so many established characters died at the start, and then gradually the toll became slower and less pronounced. Also the inclusion of only two xenomorphs for the end game made it more up close and personal. It had more impact as the crew fight against a double threat and when people were taken off the board the feeling of threat was more visceral and real.
Johnnie Christmas’s Script Adaptation: With the raw material he had to work with I think Johnnie did an exemplary job. I am an avid reader of comic adaptations of movies, and often find they come off as mere storyboards, with no actual connection to the story or those involved. This one actually had me feeling for the individual characters, be it the easily recognised elements or the more unknown additions. From Bishop in true devoted android mode to the extended crew making a run for it, Johnnie did an excellent job of fleshing out the relevant people and making their plight real. And he had me rooting for them even as, despite their best efforts, they get picked off one by one.
Art: Where Johnnie did have full control though was the art. He and Tamra gave the finale a splendidly iconic cover that gave nothing away, but showcased the two opposing forces with epic poetry of almost Beauty & The Beast proportions. And here he shone brightly and gave everything he had. Once again he kept things moving at a fast click and ensured the drama was well paced, within the confines of the script. The various scenes of death were typically glorious in gore and I even gave a wince as Bishop lost his footing on the ladder. Nate Piekos adds some fitting sound effects as shots are fired and the xenomorph makes its iconic animalistic snarl. Tamra Bonvillain again gives a perfect sense of atmosphere to the surroundings with the coloring, giving a vivid look to the sterile surroundings. And of course being very liberal with the blood red during the scenes of the xenomorph and its constant take down of the poor victims as people fall like tenpins.
A whole lot happened this issue as the gang make their escape and I was gripped through it all and invested in their plight, rushed as it may have seemed. There was only one element missing, with no definitive closure for Ripley and Newt, despite the subtle promise last issue. Overall though, it’s a thumbs up. Right Newt?
Maybe Ripley shouldn’t have taken a break on this one after all? The guys did well, but there’s no replacing the bugbuster supreme.
William Gibson’s Alien 3 #5: Light at The End of The Tunnel
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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