Dark Horse Comics 2016
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Tristan Jones
Coloured by Dan Jackson
Lettered by Blambots Nate Piekos
COLONIAL MARINE ZULA HENDRICKS has gone AWOL in the company of a cadre of Weyland-Yutani combat synthetics (all under the designation “Davis”), and they’re on the trail of an alien species their previous employer seeks to weaponize. But the unit Davis 01 has broken his programming, and he and Zula are out to eradicate the xenomorph threat, one infected space station at a time.
I have to say I like the way Hendricks and these synthetics are interacting. It’s very clear that Davis 1 is the leader and they follow him in his belief and assessments and they mistrust Hendricks so it’s really more interesting to see how the dynamic plays out. Yeah I know that Hendricks is AWOL and that Davis 1 broke his programming but there’s this weird bond forming between them and as unusual as it is i’m totally into it.
The whole premise here too is one that has been long overdue to explore. Weyland-Yutani’s obsession with the xenomorphs and weaponizing them is the worst kept secret in this universe and the best way to prevent them for obtaining any would be to go out and destroy as many as you can find. Finally someone’s taken the gumption to take the fight to the xenomorphs.
Add in the fact that Brian can do some of the best most intelligent and intense characterization around and suddenly this series takes on a whole new dimension. I mean Hendrick’s condition and the way Synthetic’s think already make for some great reading.
Also the interiors here are utterly amazing to me. The distinction between Hendrick’s and these ghostly white stiff synthetics are enough to give you chills. It does have the whole vibe of robots overtaking mankind and that’s perfect for this story. Plus the attention to detail is just crazy good and that includes backgrounds, facial expression, or lack thereof. Tristan has outdone himself here with his eye for storytelling using pages and panels for the flow and with Dan’s colouring the whole mood of each page is sheer brilliance. Seeing Hendrick’s and Davis 1 walk the empty ship was one this week’s visual highlights.
The way this issue lays things out for the reader shows us a really strong sense of what we can expect moving forward. With a limited force going in there’s a lot less chance of seeing whole carnage and I found that fascinating. Plus this synthetic was a real help in fighting one and it makes you think why they haven’t been doing this before. I’m more excited for this than i’d thought i’d be and considering this was high on my radar that’s saying something.
It’s series like this one that can become the staple in Dark Horse’s lineup moving forward. Strongly written, incredibly illustrated and all around one hell of a read this is why the Alien franchise can never go away.