Alienated #5 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 13, 2020

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Chris Wildgoose
Colours: André May
Letters: Jim Campbell

What an incredible series Alienated has been, a rollercoaster of emotions, a coming of age story for three teenagers who are all damaged in their own ways. Chip, the resident alien creature, has been a unique and exciting way to explore these three individuals on their journey to adulthood, which is the bare bones of the tale. In this penultimate issue events continue to spiral out of control and it’s difficult to see how the final issue will conclude the story.

It’s truly been a journey for each of our three Sam’s. Previous issues have shown them each coming face to face with the traumatic events in their young lives. Samantha’s miscarriage. Samir’s father leaving. Samuel constantly upheaving his life. Each of our heroes have been left scarred by these events, but thanks to Chip, Samir and Samantha have both managed to face up to their trauma’s and take that crucial first step to moving past them and becoming adults, shaped by prior events but no longer defined by them. The problem lies with Samuel however.

He is so desperate to be heard, so desperate to have a voice, to matter. And thanks to his mums job and constantly moving he’s struggled to make connections, making him feel insignificant. It’s a fascinating insight into a kid lashing out at a world he doesn’t like in any way he can. Couple that with Chip’s unimaginable powers and there’s a real recipe for disaster here. It’s a scary combination and doesn’t promise an easy resolution.

What’s been incredible about Simon Spurriers writing is it doesn’t feel like he has planned the series from start to finish. Rather it feels like he’s gone here’s three kids working through their problems, an alien creature with almost limitless power, off you go. And from that point it’s been an incredibly natural and organic story. Of course the reality is it’s probably been planned in meticulous detail, with a clear start, middle and end, but it doesn’t read like that. It reads like an organically told tale. It makes it feel more believable and compulsive reading.

The main focus in this issue is about Samuels quest to find a voice with Waxy, even after the bombshell revelation at the end of the previous issue. Things don’t go as planned however, and that disappointment reaches boiling point at the end of the issue. What a cliff-hanger. As cliff-hangers go this one is up there as one of the most shocking and suspenseful ever. How this phenomenal series will conclude is up in the air. There are no clear solutions. No easy fixes and the world and our heroes live happily ever after. This series has irrevocably changed the three Sam’s and their lives, their entire worlds. Where Samir and Samantha have grown across the series, making mistakes along the way, ultimately they have taken important first steps to becoming adults, with everything that entails, especially responsibility for their actions. Samuel on the other hand hasn’t, and it’s his emotions and lashing out which promises to cause the most damage.

Chris Wildgoose’s art has been incredible from start to finish. From the quieter moments filled with the characters emotions up to the insanity that is unleashed every time they use Chips powers each moment has been beautifully created on the page. The art is as integral as the writing to the storytelling, and readers will find themselves lost in the pages. Chips evolution over the course of the series has been exciting to watch and Wildgoose has outdone himself here. The change in Chip between the different Sam’s is well done and tells a story in itself.

André May’s colours have also been incredible across the course of the series. There are scenes in this issue with a multitude of colours which end up having a trippy vibe to them, as the Sam’s emotions erupt in a number of different and competing ways. The colours have really helped emphasise the alien-ness of Chip and his power, and remind the reader, if any reminder was needed, that he isn’t from around here.

The story being told here is incredible. One of the best coming of age stories ever, an incredible exploration of that moment of becoming an adult, of facing the trauma’s that have defined you and moving past them. It’s also a wonderful exploration of the dangers of teenage emotions, and a clever look at a what if scenario of teens having more power. The art and colours have been as incredible and exciting as the story itself, and there is no doubt that this is one of the best comics in recent years.

Our Score:


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