Alien #1 (May 2021)

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Salvador Larroca, Colours: Guru-eFX

THE ICONIC CINEMATIC TERROR MAKES ITS MARVEL DEBUT! Gabriel Cruz gave his life to Weyland-Yutani–In the case of an alien attack he barely survived, almost literally! Recently retired, Cruz is trying to patch things up with his abandoned son with the help of his friend, a Bishop-model android, but his re-entry into civilian life is not going smoothly…and his encounters with the deadly Xenomorph are far from over. Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca team up to tell an all-new tale of the titan of horror and science fiction that has scared audiences for decades. No one is safe. No one is innocent. And no one can hear you scream.

Marvel.com official solicitation

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox they gained control of the Alien franchise.  This resulted in the comic book publishing rights to move from Dark Horse, who had held the license for year, to Marvel.  People feared that this could lead to the Disneyfication of the Xenomorph but don’t worry because nothing has been toned down here.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Salvador Larroca deliver us an Alien story that is closer in tone to ‘Alien’ and ‘Alien’ than anything else since those films.  It is 2200, twenty one years after Ripley returned to LV-426 with the Colonial Marines, and retiring Weyland-Yutani security chief Gabriel Cruz is having nightmares about his teams encounter with the Xenomorph.  He works on the Epsilon Orbital Research Station and is a world-weary company man who believes what he is doing is right.  Helping him work through his PTSD is a Bishop android, not the one from the film, trained in counselling and he transfers him to another Bishop back on Earth.

In his retirement Cruz is trying to reconnect with his estranged son Danny. From his conversations with the second Bishop we learn that he is sick and time is running out. He has spent most of his life in space have his family relationship have broken down. There is no mention of his wife and there was a second son who died while Cruz was away on a mission.

Danny visits his father but it turns out it is not there to mend their relationship. Danny is a member of an anti-Weyland-Yutani terrorist group that believes the company is responsible for cyber crimes. He is there to steal his father’s security codes. These codes are used to break into the Epsilon Orbital Research Station.

If you were worried about how the book would handle violence while having a Disney tag on it then the break-in proves you don’t have to. A female guard gets shot in the face at point blank range and her head comes clean off. And Larroca doesn’t draw it in a subtle way or try to hide it.

Once the terrorists are on board they realise they are in over their heads. The research station has nothing to do with cyber crimes and they quickly deduce that it is all about biological warfare. They enter a room, that is a cross between the med lab in ‘Aliens’ and the failed clone room from ‘Alien Resurrection’, where they meet a pair of scientists who put the station on lockdown. Cruz and his group are trapped in a room with facehuggers on the loose.

Where Johnson and Larroca get the tone right is that this is a believable, lived-in future. You have people doing their jobs in a natural manner, bitching and moaning about day to day life. There’s no crazy fashions or unbelievable science apart from the alien itself. The characters are normal people with flawed lives. This follows the basic set-up of the first two films and there are no monk-like criminals, mad scientists or weird mercenaries.

Cruz, apart from being sick, is basically Ripley in ‘Aliens’. He has faced the creatures once, is having nightmares, and with his son trapped and possibly impregnated he is going to have to return to space and face his demons.

It looks like next issue we are going on a bug hunt.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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