Surrounded on all sides by vicious aliens of different types, the Spinners make a final stand as the military roll in to retrieve their presumably Xenomorph-hosting bodies. Yet Spinner leader Jane’s disease makes her an unsuitable target for the Xenomorphs, giving her just enough hope and motivation to rally the others to fight back.

This whole story arc has been a colossal disappointment; initially set up as a tale inspired, in part, by the unfilmed Vincent Ward draft of the Alien 3 script, it’s just devolved into a retread of overly familiar tropes and generally unengaging characters. Even the odd heel turn hasn’t generated much of interest – and Salvador Larroca’s art seems to have made things so much worse, with dreadful, unclear action scenes and inappropriate facial expressions on awkwardly photo referenced characters littering the comic’s pages. The new creatures that have popped up are dull and lacking in clarity; like the rest of the characters in fight scenes, it’s often difficult to tell what’s going on with them.

Unfortunately, the writing also seems to have dropped in quality towards the end of this story arc too – characters seem like they’re doing stuff only to set the plot in motion, acting stupidly, selfishly and/or completely out of character just to get things concluded.

Initially, I wasn’t even keen on the Bohemian Rhapsody-homaging cover, but it grew on me. I guess my hope that it signified some sort of interesting development with a Queen was too much to ask though.

With a look at what is presumably the cover for Annual #1 in the back of the comic, the immediate future for the Alien comic books looks pretty bleak. I’m not kidding or being hyperbolic when I say that it’s one of the most awful covers I’ve ever seen – the near-photrealism of Colonial Marine Cruz’s head looks pasted on and the Aliens in the scene all look as if they’ve been ripped from different sources and placed in the same scene (plus, is he shooting at the Alien on the right, which is behind the gun’s muzzle?). It’s atrocious. I’m very disappointed in Marvel’s handling of the Alien universe so far, despite a reasonably strong start.

Though the output of Alien comics from Dark Horse was massively variable, I don’t recall them ever getting it this wrong over the years; the worst it got was being too formulaic, but they did generally have great artwork even when the writers ran out of stuff to say.

Fingers crossed that the third Alien story arc fares better than the first two. If not, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to these comics for much longer.

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