Though I’m still baffled by Marvel’s decision to relaunch their Alien series with a new number one, two issues in it does seem to have improved tremendously.

The Steel Team of synthetics – who broke away from servitude to live a life away from the constant war and corporate oneupmanship that characterises human worlds throughout the galaxy – have been lured back to military service. The offer to improve life for all synthetics drew them back; their mission, to retrieve an Alien egg from a dead, irradiated world, seemingly straightforward. Things, however, aren’t quite as simple as they initially appeared – and this is the Alien universe after all.

Julius Ohta’s dynamic art is such a refreshing change from the art that somewhat blighted the previous stories. Though Salvador Larroca had his moments and has a style that does work for some stories and genres, his overly photo referenced, stiffly posed figures was a terrible fit for Alien.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s third story arc does at least start off well; though it remains to be seen whether or not we head into more clichéd, familiar territory, so far there’s been a decent amount of political and social commentary to go with the sci-fi horror.

There’s a well handled action sequence and a few neat twists – including a great cliffhanger. Could it be third time lucky for Marvel’s Alien comics? On current evidence, it would seem so – but it’s hard to forget that the first two story arcs started out pretty intriguingly too, before going downhill in the second half of each of their stories.

Still, there’s no denying that this Alien series does at least take us into somewhat uncharted territory with its protagonists and setup, which has definitely held my interest so far.

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