Want to know my verdict on the third issue of Marvel’s first ever Alien series straight away? Then let me give you a quick hint: though I bought it upon release nearly two weeks ago, I completely forgot that I’d read it.
Gabe Cruz – retired Weyland-Yutani security officer – has been tasked with retrieving an ‘Alpha’ embryo from the company facility he used to work at, currently under attack from anti-corporate terrorists; among them is Gabe’s son. As he and his small team head deeper into the facility, Gabe is reminded of another mission he was on, twenty years earlier…
Though the story is mildly intriguing, it’s far from subtle and the dialogue often feels quite clunky. Though I enjoyed the first issue and thought it had a lot of potential, especially as it seemed to be taking the story in a fresh, new direction (with the addition of the Alpha as well as a peek at the anti-corporate sentiment in a world, or perhaps universe, controlled by a company with far too much power), it seems to have fallen back on far too familiar tropes and references. The art doesn’t help, with Salvador Larroca’s pencils starting off strong in the first few issues, but feeling increasingly stiff, especially when it comes to the depiction of the Aliens themselves.
Still, there’s some interesting developments and it’s certainly a bold choice to make the central character such an unlikeable asshole and there’s at least one neat twist during the issue; I just hope that writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson does take us further into unexplored territory, as the reliance on retreading well worn ground, which has been done ad nauseum in the expanded universe fiction of Alien since 1986’s movie sequel, is wearing very thin at this point.
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