Dark Horse Comics 2016
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Tristan Jones
Coloured by Dan Jackson
Lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot
WHILE LOOKING FOR SURVIVORS in an Alien-infested fueling depot, ZULA HENDRICKS and Davis discover a lone medical officer, Dr. Hollis, hiding in the bowels of the station. Her research skills and firsthand knowledge of the xenomorph scourge are invaluable to the mission, but the arrival of a heavily armed squad of Colonial Marines threatens to cut things short.
First things first Tristan Jones is a genius when it comes to storytelling. The attention to detail he puts into his work and the ferocity of what we see on the page is astonishing. I mean that splash page is utterly gorgeous and terrifying at the same time. His use of page layouts through angles, perspective and those all important backgrounds really do so much to put you into the action here and make your heart race as you know these Marines aren’t going to survive this encounter. I could read the whole thing without words and never miss a beat of what’s happening here. He’s rocketed up on my list of people I want to send a blank cover, of his choice, to do whatever he feels like doing on it. You don’t see this kind of talent everyday and when you find it you have to simply marvel at what he’s capable of.
I love what Brian is doing with the story here as well. As Zula and Davis run through the station with Dr. Hollis the three begin to talk about what the heck is going on here. How originally Wayland-Tuyani wanted a live specimen brought back for research and study to weaponise it. Only it’s Dr. Hollis who holds more information than we realised as she’s able to state that they don’t need a live specimen only a partial one because of advancements in essentially gene modification practices, a lot like cloning, have advanced so far that they only need to get its dna.
This changes how Zula sees her mission now. Yes she realises she and the Davis crew were sent to retrieve a specimen and more than likely the Marines were already out in space waiting for a locale to swoop in and gather what they needed. Now she knows she cannot let them get their hands on any kind of specimen dead or alive. Not that they’d be able to capture a live one I mean c’mon. I love that the Corporation is still so full of itself they believe they can control one of these things and manipulate it to create a new weapon that would put them back on top.
Brian manages to keep all the core elements of the movie franchise in this story and continue to flesh them out according the characters we see. So it’s a perfect fit into that movie franchise while it’s still a stand alone story. The characterisation here is phenomenally good and the story development is truly big screen worthy. The way he’s able to create the tension and fear inside these pages stands out. If ever a series were to be as true as possible to the movie franchise without being an adaptation it’s this one. Best part of it all is that it’s not over yet. We see all those moments that keep happening to people happen and all the while their characters continue to grow and evolve into something so much than we were originally introduced to.
This is in my humble opinion the best Alien story i’ve seen to date period.