Alien #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 24, 2021

Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colours: Guru-eFX
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

There is a lot riding on this first issue of Alien from Marvel. This is the first issue since they acquired the license from Dark Horse, and just to show how monumental it is there are variant covers after variant covers. Luckily Phillip Kennedy Johnson understands how to tell a good Alien story. This first issue spends most of its time introducing us to Gabriel Cruz, the main character for the series. He’s a retiring soldier, who’s dedicated his life to serving Weyland-Yutani, on-board Epsilon station, at the expense of his family back on Earth who he’s grown estranged from. We meet a host of supporting characters as well but it’s clear he’s going to be the focus for the story. And for Aliens fans there are even a couple of Bishop model androids who act as Cruz’ psychiatrist.

But we couldn’t have an entire issue without at least an appearance from the Alien, although most of that is told via flashbacks and dreams. Cruz has a history with Xenomorphs, one which will continue to unfold as the series progresses. This debut issue takes its time introducing the world, but it needs to so it can effectively introduce readers to the cast of characters and slowly build up to the horror that the Xenomorph represents. This slow burn might be a turn off for some readers but there are plenty of reasons to stick with this series and see how it all unfolds.

It’s got enough hallmarks of the classic film series while managing to introduce enough new threads and intrigue to stand on its own two feet. There’s the company, desperate to exploit the aliens despite the risk that they represent. We’ve got marines. Bishop model androids. The lo-fi aesthetic so familiar to fans. But there are also conspiracy theories and the hint of a new type of xenomorph. There are mysteries being teased which will have fans guessing what’s really going on. And an excellent setting for a Xenomorph infestation.

The scenes where the Aliens appear are well done. Salvador Larroca understands how to create that claustrophobic, oppressive feel that the alien films do so well, capturing the horror and sense of impending doom perfectly. The Alien universe is filled with lo-fi science fiction and he captures that while still making everything look futuristic. He captures Bishops likeness really well. Then there are the colours from Guru-eFX, which really contrast the dark, horror filled scenes with the brightly lit space station or scenes set on Earth.

The slow burn of the first issue may be off-putting to some fans, but it’s exactly what an Alien comic needs, time to establish the characters and setting before Xenomorphs start killing everyone left right and centre. There are enough hallmarks of the films to excite fans while also taking measures to stand on its own two feet. The few scenes with the Xenomorphs look fantastic, managing to capture the horror and claustrophobia of the films while never forgetting just how deadly the Aliens are. Full of promise for the rest of the series, Marvel look like they’re onto a winner.

Our Score:


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