This May will see the release of Alien: Covenant – the latest entry in the Alien franchise and the sequel to 2012’s Prometheus. To mark the occasion, Dark Horse has not only been rereleasing several of their classic Alien comics as well as this all new series set between the first two films.
Colonial Marine Private First Class Zula Hendricks is battling demons from her past while fighting for her life in the company of Weyland-Yutani synthetics. In deep space she is forced to question her strength and loyalty when the discovery of an insidious alien species on a derelict hauler sends her on a dangerous journey across the stars.
Multiple Eisner Award nominee Brian Wood has a highly varied body of work when it comes to comics. From mainstream comic series such as X-Men and Moon Knight, licensed properties including Conan and Star Wars, and some great creator-owned titles such as DMZ and Demo – it should come as no surprise that he is a perfect fit on the Alien franchise.
Whilst the Alien series is well known for having strong multi-layered protagonists, for the most part, they do not usually let you directly know what’s going through the characters’ minds. It therefore quite the shift in Aliens: Defiance where we are given a direct view into Zula’s head as she struggles with the toll her injuries have taken on her psyche and the humiliating circumstances that she obtained them in whilst she finds herself in several dangerous situations involving the Xenomorphs. Wood gives her plenty of great moments for character development with a particular highpoint being when she has to make a difficult decision against fellow marines that leaves her questioning if she is worthy of the uniform.
Wood also gives her a great character to play off in Davis One who is another robotic companion. Like Ash and David, Davis has grown against elements of his programming. Fortunately, in obtaining free will – his main desire is to learn more and achieve perfection compared to his inferior counterparts. He has little sympathy for her Zula’s past trauma which actually strengthens the bond between them.
On the art front, Tristan Jones does a fantastic job of capturing the tone and style established in previous entries in the franchise whilst adding his own take. The Xenomorphs are as terrifying as ever and the space ship designs and outer space backdrops are all top notch. At the same time, there’s some great character design and work with body language (Zula is usually packed with emotion and expression whilst Davis gives Jones the opportunity to be more subtle in what makes him tick).
This is a great sci-fi action tale to boot and is an ideal adventure for those who want to further explore the Alien universe. And if you need a way to hold over your appetite if cannot wait for May to arrive, this is definitely one to check out.
Aliens: Defiance Volume 1 is published 09 February by Dark Horse
9781506701264 – P/B – £16.99
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Post by Leo