Comic Book Review: William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1
When I originally heard of this announcement, I was at a loss for words that this is what we had to look forward to next from the Aliens franchise with Dark Horse. We may have gotten Aliens 3 in theaters, but there’s always room to experience the original screenplay too. As I always say, just because something didn’t work for the movies doesn’t mean it can’t work for comics. When understanding why his script wasn’t used, I felt more anxious to see how this could have been better. Honestly I jumped into this wanting it to be better.
Now before we go any further, I should say that a lot of this story would at the same time be new for someone like me regardless of original script or what was in theaters. The actual release of Aliens 3 was on the year I was born. So I’m jumping into this story with the perspective of someone kind of new to what this has to offer. Fortunately I didn’t feel as though there was anything that I was missing. Everything was for the most part straight forward when anticipating what would happen with the spaceship Sulaco carrying the sleeping bodies of Ripley, Hicks, Newt. That whole ship was a walking liability when there was the risk of something getting out on its own, something getting out because Weyland-Yutani Corporation finally got to them, or worse. When you’re a fan of horror, then you were probably hoping for worse or a little bit of everything tossed in. The introduction was solid for the way that it set the stakes for Weyland. And from there it was just a build-up of suspense knowing that these people were just about willing to risk anything to have the Sulaco in their possession.
One thing that quickly grabbed me about Aliens 3 was the perspective taken towards the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. Despite all of these AvP that Dark Horse has put out, majority of them moved past dealings with the corporation and their corruption. This story landed us right back to a place where they are still a big deal and dangerous for the kind of motivations they have towards collecting a sample of a Xenomorph. The way they were written here was chilling. Not for their actions, but for the way that these people carry themselves. Everything about them is politics, doing things by the rules given to them, and using shady tactics to get their way. No matter who is at the expense of their fortune. There’s a coldness about the way that they treat one another as well. Especially those who are not in positions of authority. This was what I wanted to see when they’re faced with the opportunity to claim their weapon.
I may not have read Angel Catbird, but just knowing that the artist they chose was Johnnie Christmas, I had high hopes for what we had to look forward to from this art team along with Tamra Bonvillain. Those hopes were met with satisfaction from Christmas’ detail in his pencils. The characters had form, alien objects looked surreal, and the quality of the penciling in general was consistent depending on the perspective. Bonvillain was the perfect choice for a story like Alien. If you’ve seen her work before, then there was no denying how a colorist like her knows how to set a scene. For a series like Alien, everything is about how you set a scene. For example, the blue hue of a sleeping ship interior with green overlays. The red hue of a ship that has been breached, along with a green overlay to create a sense of caution. The lighting, technical effects, depths to her colors made a lot of the developments here engaging. Especially when it came to the more chilling scenes involving the Xenomorph reveal, or the more natural colors that captured the human moments.
I’m not going to lie that I was unsure about the way that William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1 would grab me. I always want to like an Aliens story, but this one for me was during a time where someone like me would have to go back and watch the previous movie just to feel up to date on what’s unfolding. Fortunately I think this script made it easy to jumping into the next chapter knowing simply what makes it dangerous to cross paths with this alien threat and people who have no business trying to weaponize it.