Alien #2 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 21, 2021

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

The first issue in Marvels foray into the Alien universe spent time introducing the characters and the setting to readers before the Xenomorph even burst onto the scene. It’s clear that Gabriel Cruz has a chequered history with the Alien which will unfold over the course of the series, and by his sons involvement at the end of the first issue he has a strong motivation to get involved.

The comic opens with a brief look at the chaos that’s erupted onboard Epsilon Station in the aftermath of the first issue, which focuses on a little girl witnessing her grandfather being attacked off camera. Phillip Kennedy Johnson understands that the best horror isn’t always to see something first hand, but by witnessing it through another character, and it really builds the tension in a way that’s rarely seen in comics. The temptation to show us the Xenomorph ripping it’s way through the grandfather would be too much for most writers, but Johnson resists that urge and the scene is more horrifying for it.

Perspective is used well across the entire comic. Whether it’s the aforementioned focusing on the character as opposed to the Xenomorph, or perhaps framing a scene through a broken ceiling tile to let the reader know there are Facehuggers making their way towards our heroes, it’s effectively done and helps to build the horror vibe throughout the story. The Xenomorph is rarely on screen, in it’s brief appearances it’s only a glance, or it’s tail flicking out and skewering its victim, so when it does finally appear it’s all the more horrifying for it. Too many comics have leant towards the aliens action story rather than the original horror story, and the Xenomorph loses it’s sense of danger as a result. Both the alien and the marines end up being cannon fodder. By going back to its horror roots it helps establish this comic as a the horror series it deserves to be.

Salvador Larroca does an excellent job with the art, depicting the aftermath of the outbreak on the station in all of its terrifying and horrific detail, really building up the tension as our heroes progress. Make shift barricades, empty shells, blood splatters, all of it the bread and butter of the Alien universe and looking fantastic for it. These scenes contrast nicely with the scene’s on Earth, and the flashbacks to when Cruz is younger and his first encounter with the Xenomorph is skilfully done. The colours from GURU-eFX are similarly well done, bad lighting onboard the station, before red lighting, helps evoke the horror of the situation.

Marvel show with this second issue of Alien that they understand how to lean into the horror aspect of the film series rather than the action of later entries. There is an interesting story waiting to unfold here and this series works as a great entry for new readers, while also giving fans exactly what they want from the series.

Our Score:


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