In Review: Aliens: Rescue #2

The premise is solidified and the title characters make a brief appearance.

The covers: Two to pick up for this second scream in space. The Regular cover is by Roberto De La Torre and features a monstrous xenomorph’s head above a tiny marine ship. It showcases the threat of the alien, but so much of this is, no pun intended, empty space that it seems lacking. Much better is the Variant cover by Mack Chater which is the one I picked up. This features Zula Hendricks in the foreground holding her rifle in her right hand. Behind her is Amanda Ripley, with her rifle on her shoulder. Behind this pair of heroes is a xenomorph. Placing the creature on a fiery orange background makes the monster pop. Very cool. Overall grades: Regular C and Variant A-

The story: Alec Brand is going into his cryogenic sleep pod aboard the Borneo. The ship’s A.I. tells him that the marine will be allowed to have his sidearm with him in his pod. When asked why he wants it with him, Brand answers, “You never know what might be waiting when you wake up.” Before he’s put in stasis, the marine asks the A.I. its name. “We have met…but it’s been some time. My name is Davis.” Brian Wood then moves his story to an unnamed world whose moon is disintegrating and sending its debris into the planet it still orbits. Within the USMC Forward Operating Base that safely circles the world, Zula and Ripley consult on how their mission will proceed. They’re interrupted by Alec who arrives and is surprised to see this two rescuers alive. Pleasantries are exchanged before he’s told what the marines are doing on this world. The moon is composed of a unique substance that literally eats radiation. Weylund-Yutani wants the copyright. Unfortunately the title creatures have been hitching a ride on the falling meteorites for the last half-dozen years. “Wey-Yu’s looking to collect a two-fer.” Naturally there’s a twist and the trio of characters go to the home world to see what’s developed on the surface. Wood is still setting up the story for, hopefully, a massive confrontation. I enjoyed this, but wasn’t wowed by it. My opinion may change if the, hopefully impending, action increases. Overall grade: B-

The art: Kieran McKeown pencils this book and JL Straw inks it. The book opens with a panel that shows the Borneo in deep space, establishing the distance from help (a common Alien theme), before showing Alec readying his weapon. Pages 2 and 3 return to the loneliness of space, then moving to the moon in pieces and its remnants falling to the world below. This followed by two very detailed images of the military ships in orbit. Both artists do a really good job on these vessels. I like how Alec looks really young when he joins Amanda and Zula, and the reactions from the heroes are perfect. When he stands before the women, the other marines stop what they’re doing to look at him. This is a very realistic reaction and was a good choice. I don’t know why the display on 7 required four screens to show to Alec, because in the movies a small screen is always used for this type of display. The journey down to the world is good, with the transition from space to life giving world cool. Page 15 finally shows the title characters and there are a lot of them. I really like what Alec is doing as he’s still getting information — very realistic, given what happened to him in the previous Aliens series. 17 – 19 have some excellent action panels and this has me looking forward to seeing what McKeown and Straw will do if the action becomes frantic. Overall grade: B

The colors: The new setting allows colorist Dan Jackson to punch up the normally dark colors of this franchise. I like that when Alec goes into cryo the colors go gray to represent his sleep. Using yellows for the book’s credits on Pages 2 and 3 has them stand out against the space settings. I really like the last panel on the third page for the bright colors of the meteorites. Alec’s light tan tee shirt has him stand out from the other marines that are going on the mission. I really like the tones on Alec’s skin in the first panel on 9. The presence of the cool blues on 11 are a good counter to the unending darkness of space. The reflection of light off the aliens’ skin is very cool. Coloring these dark creatures must be a nightmare, but Jackson doesn’t make them pure ebony, allowing each aspect of their construction to be seen. I really love when the action panels involving the creatures have bright oranges behind them to make the violence intensify. Alec’s narration boxes are given a perfect drab military green to separate them from other texts. Clever. Overall grade: A

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot creates this issue’s scene settings and credits (the same font), Davis’s speech, dialogue, and gunshots. The scene settings and credits look like film credits, so they pull the reader into the book and recall memories of the movies. A.I. Davis has dialogue that’s italicized, giving him a metallic sound. I wish that Alec’s narration had been in a different font from the dialogue, since it’s only differed by the shape and color of the boxes and balloons. The only sounds in the book are the gunshots on the surface of the world. I wish that the aliens had been given sounds, as well as sounds for the weapon’s impact on them, but Wood didn’t write that in his script. Overall grade: B

The final line: The premise is now solidified and the title characters make a brief appearance. I’m hoping that the next issue has things go wrong, as they always do in this franchise. Alec is looking to be the star of this series more so than Amanda or Zula. Though who or what is the “rescue” of this series is still open. This was enjoyable, but now needs to go somewhere. Overall grade: B

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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