Alien (2021-) #1 by Philip Kennedy Johnson

Alien (2021-) #1Alien (2021-) #1 by Philip Kennedy Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Set after the events of Alien and Aliens, this book sees the estranged son of a retired Weyland-Yutani security chief steals his access codes and, along with a group of fellow anti-corporate activists, uses them to break into what they believe to be cyber warfare facility…but is, in fact, a bio-weapons lab. And if you’re familiar with the Alien franchise, you know what that means.

I’d worried that this book would leap straight into man vs alien action, and eschew the slow build up and character moments that characterise the best entries in the movie series, but thankfully that’s not true. The xenomorph only really appears in flashbacks, and all we really get is a little face hugger action at the end…and that’s exactly as it should be. The main focus is on Gabriel Cruz, the aforementioned retired security chief, who’s plagued by nightmares of unspeakable bio-mechanical horrors…which seem to be inspired by an incident from his past…which possibly included the death of his other son. Many questions are asked but, given that this is just the first issue, inevitably answers are in short supply.

There’s a creeping sense of dread throughout the issue, and the use of a Bishop series android actually adds to this. It’s a familiar face for fans, but also not quite the character we know.

Larroca’s art is Larocca’s art. Personally I preferred his art before he started heavily using photo reference, but I only found it to not quite work on one early double page spread. Your mileage, no doubt, will vary. But the fact that his Bishop looks exactly like Lance Henriksen is a plus as far as I’m concerned. Mostly the art gives the book a cinematic feel, but I can understand people not liking it.

Overall this is an outstanding start to the series and to the new Marvel era of Alien comics.

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