With their fellow survivor retrieved from the Xenomorphs – albeit at a terrible cost – Jane and the Spinners make their way to Gamma Station, now inhabited by another group of religious colonists. However, there’s an unforeseen development – that makes them realise that they got out of the frying pan, only to be deep in the fire…with little hope of escaping to safety.
There’s a good deal of exposition here, revealing quite a bit about the Spinners and the Xenomorphs they’re facing, which is all pretty satisfying. It’s not especially original amongst Alien stories, but it’s reasonably well handled in any case.
The same can’t be said of the art; Salvador Larroca again handing in work that veers awkwardly between heavily photo-referenced and just plain lazy. There are numerous panels in which Aliens are hidden in shadow or obscured by objects – the feeling is that this is less a stylistic choice and more a way for Larroca to avoid drawing the creatures in too much detail.
One cornfield-set sequence is a very close lift from the infamously unfilmed Vincent Ward draft of Alien 3 – which this story arc hews closely to in a few ways – and Larroca strips it of anything visually interesting in the way he handles it. It’s a huge disappointment.
I’ve also got to admit that I winced when I saw the cover for issue 12; the Bohemian Rhapsody homage just feels so out of place in this comic, which takes itself very seriously indeed.
Sadly, despite the promise shown in the opening chapter of this story arc, it has turned out to be pretty by-the-numbers; the opportunity to present a unique set of circumstances for the characters seems to have been mostly wasted at this stage. With issue 12 looking to be the conclusion of this arc, hopefully it isn’t too late for the tale to take a more interesting turn.
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