In Review: Aliens: Resistance #1

An exciting read set on Earth with a clear purpose for the pair of heroes.

The covers: Two different frontpieces to find for this premiere issue. The Regular cover is by Roberto de la Torre and it’s really difficult to make out the artwork due to the coloring. This would probably have been better had it been in black and white. Amanda and Zula are holding rifles, making their way in the open near a Weyland-Yutani building that can be seen in the distance. They’ve paused before a familiar oval opening. Just above them, partially hidden by the title, is a xenomorph whose drool is creating an acid hole in the floor. Since when did the aliens’ drool cause this? I thought it was just their blood. I really had to put my face up to this cover to see what was going on. That’s not good. Much better is the Variant cover by Tristan Jones. This is fantastic illustration of an alien sitting crouched atop a Weyland-Yutani sign in a downpour as lightning explodes behind it. The creature is on point and the coloring is outstanding. This should be a poster, print, and tee shirt. Outstanding! Overall grades: Regular D and Variant A+

The story: “After the traumatic events of Alien: Isolation” and Aliens: Defiance, writer Brian Wood has Amanda Ripley on Earth living as far away as she can off the grid. Unfortunately she’s found by Zula Heckricks who brings her back into the city because she needs her help to stop Weyland-Yutani who have a bio-weapon, a xenomoph, offworld. They’re assisted by Davis, Zula’s synthetic partner who exists only as a neural chip. The women have to find the offworld location and that’s their first obstacle. What follows is a quick caper with Amanda going into a heavily protected area to get the information. Zula provides backup from afar. Having not read either of the previous series I was worried I wouldn’t understand what was going on, but that wasn’t an issue. There were only two pages that had no context for me, 18 and 19, though the cliffhanger of this issue tells me that I’ll be receiving plenty of context next issue. I like the quick pace of the story, the action, the characters, and that this is set primarily on Earth. I would love to see more of what’s happening on Earth in the Aliens franchise. A satisfactory read. Overall grade: B+

The art: Robert Carey’s visuals remind me of stylized animation. I’ve not seen an Aliens tale look like this and I like it. The first page (seems, since I didn’t read it) the climax from Isolation. It’s four horizontal panels with close-ups of Amanda, a computer console, an alien’s open mouth, and Amanda drifting in space. The next page shows Amanda on Earth three years later hiking up a mountain in the darkness. Page 3 is more starting with the arrival of Zula in her ship. I like the top panel that shows Amanda’s reaction before the ship is shown, making the reader momentarily guess what’s coming at her. The action that Amanda has in the third panel says much about her character; nice way to give a character trait without stating it through the text. The journey into the city on 4 and 5 is neat. I like how everyone has the same expression and things look bleak. The first panel on Page 9 is exactly how this location should be presented to the reader. Brilliant! The individuals that come across Amanda have a neat design, though I wish they looked more like the individuals from the film. The fourth panel on 10 is a fantastic take on the most famous scene from Alien 3 — I loved this! The panel that follows this increased the tension substantially. The progression of action on 12 and 13 is great, with the leap that ends the scene dramatic. The ship work on 15 is outstanding. Pages 17 and 18 are well done, but the story they’re telling me leaves me with a ton of questions. I’m liking this take on Aliens and I want to see more from Carey. Overall grade: A

The colors: I’ve loved Dan Jackson’s work on previous Dark Horse books, so I knew when I saw his name the colors would be good. They most definitely are. The first page is the perfect balance of what can be seen and what can’t in the dark of space. The second page continues this with Amanda in the wilds on Earth. By having both pages so dark demonstrates that this is what’s become of Amanda’s life. That makes the glaring oranges and yellows on 3 dramatic when they herald Zula’s entrance. The dull colors of the city and its surroundings tell the reader that Earth is not a great place to live. When the protagonists’ caper begins the exteriors on 8 go red, showcasing the stress that this job is creating. The coloring in the first panel on 9 is beautiful. The coloring of those that encounter Amanda is a great shade to create terror. The skies on 11 are beautiful. Repellent, but beautiful since I don’t live there. I have several questions about the choice of color for a wound on 14, as that color usually connotes a reaction to something from the films. I’m hoping this gets addressed later. The reds in the bottom panel on 15 are killer. Thought the title characters are only briefly seen, they look great: horrific silhouettes against the minimal lights of space. Overall grade: A

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot has created transmissions and Davis’s speech (the same font), scene settings and the book’s credits (same font), narration, dialogue, and computer text. I have no issue with the transmissions and Davis’s speech being the same font as they are both electronic. The scene settings and the book’s credits are okay being similar, though it did initially make me think I was reading a setting when it was actually a credit. I was happy to see narration and dialogue differed and the brief computer readout looked perfect. All that’s missing from Piekos’s creations on this issue are sounds, of which there are none. It’s not Peikos’s job to determine where sounds go, but the action scenes came off as horribly muted without them. Overall grade: B

The final line: An exciting read set on Earth with a clear purpose for the pair of heroes. Their overall goal will not go as easy as they expect, I’m sure. The story doesn’t require reading of the previous series and has some excellent non-alien antagonists in this outing. The visuals are unique among previous Alien stories and I like them. I’m on board to see what horrors Amanda and Zula encounter in space. 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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