It’s completely coincidental timing, but I’ve had a bit of a Western themed week: a board game review of Western Legends, a comic book review of weird west story The Sixth Gun Vol. 2 and even a Switch review of a Wild West point and click adventure, Lone McLonegan. Even Alien is in on the Wild West atmosphere in its current story arc.
A supply ship bringing much needed goods to the humans colonising a moon and looking to live a simple, mostly technology free existence has brought extraterrestrial death with it. The colonists – known as ‘Spinners’ – are reluctant to believe the eyewitness testimony of the one surviving person who saw what was in the craft, leading to conflict amongst the settlement’s inhabitants. With no one believing that there’s an imminent threat, the colonists continue to go about their business – with horrific consequences. The extraterrestrial threat isn’t all they have to worry about, however…
Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson is crafting a unique tale with this story arc; it’s great to see a low tech, highly religious colony of humans react to what is sure to be a devastating threat to their existence. The politics of the situation are handled in an intriguing way and the interpersonal dynamics of the characters are well sketched out too.
Salvador Larroca’s art is still a bit hit and miss for me though. When the art doesn’t look stiff and overly photo referenced, it’s not bad at all – but there’s a real awkwardness to some of the character reactions, particularly when they’re annoyed or angry, that just makes them look far too exaggerated in their responses to other characters. It’s quite jarring. The Alien itself tends to look pretty good though; the only other sequence that lets it down is a far too explicit and cartoonishly gory scene that just ends up looking daft.
Still, Johnson’s on form with his script in this arc so far, which has gone to a far more interesting place than the fairly standard first arc, which – despite some interesting exposition in terms of Alien lore – wasn’t a particularly riveting story and relied far too much on shoehorning in overly familiar characters and concepts. Thankfully, if you skip that first arc entirely and start with this second one, currently there’s little of note that you’ll have missed out on. It’s a much more satisfying read; let’s hope it continues that way as the arc develops.
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