In Review: Aliens: Resistance #2

The mystery thickens, while the intelligence of the heroes seems to lessen.

The covers: An appropriate two covers to pick up for the second issue in this series. The Regular cover by Roberto de la Torre features both heroes, Amanda and Zula, back to back in their pressure suits firing their weapons at unseen foes. They are standing among a sticky setting that resembles a location that’s been taken over by xenomorphs, with the heroes standing atop several of the felled creatures. I’ve loved those suits since the original film from ’79 and they look fantastic holding rifles and firing. The ick factor is high with the setting looking so gross. Well done, Mr. de la Torre. The Variant cover by Tristan Jones is outstanding. This features a close-up of Amanda in her pressure suit with her headlamp creating a glare at the reader who’s looking up at her. She looks frightened by something. It’s probably the alien that’s right behind her, reaching for her, its mouth open to release its second, extended mouth. Great tense image that captures the fear of this franchise. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: The Weyland-Yutani blacksite’s location is classified, but is obviously a massive construction on an asteroid that orbits a planet. A colony ship, the Gaspar, lands revealing its cargo: several people in orange jumpsuits with bags over their heads. They’re lead forward by synthetics armed with guns. Once they’re in a specific area an announcement is made. “Hoods off. We’re on a schedule.” Now able to see, the people discover the synthetics are wearing containment suits. There’s a hiss of gas and all are told to breathe deeply. One person refuses to do so and is punched in the stomach, which has him inhaling the gas. “You’re about to become a part of something beautiful,” and unseen speaker says. Brian Wood then moves his tale to Amanda who’s wondering how Zula was able to get a hold of the Celestial, which is invisible to the blacksite’s scanners. They’re watching the Gaspar unload its eleven hundred colonists. It seems as though the people are being held against their will. Amanda thinks, ‘We need evidence. I figure we’ll know it when we see it.’ That’s when Zula directs her attention to something on the ship. “There — Ripped plating, acid scorching — look familiar?” ‘Too familiar.’ The pair enter the dark ship and realize they need something, some things. I thought it was neat how Davis was able to accompany the pair aboard the colonists’ ship — very cool. They encounter someone a few moments later and that’s when things start to go wrong. The solution to Amanda’s dilemma on Page 11 is simple, cool, and made me chuckle. The mystery of what’s being done with colonists continue to grow, though, as a reader of Aliens comics since Dark Horse first got the rights to publish their adventures, it seems fairly obvious to me. Why it hasn’t dawned on the heroes diminishes them. This isn’t coming off as dramatic irony, but as leads who weren’t as bright as I’d believed. They’ve had previous run ins with the company and creatures and they can’t come to the obvious conclusion? The last seven pages have a really tense sequence that ends with a solid cliffhanger. This was a solid read, though the heroes don’t seem as smart as I assumed they were. Overall grade: B

The art: I really liked the art on this issue. The opening three pages don’t reveal through text what’s occurring to the colonists, so it falls upon Robert Carey to communicate the story to the reader with his art. The first panel of the book is a beautiful image of the blacksite from a distance. The landing of the Gaspar is solid and I like how it’s slightly separated from the panel next to it, which identifies what company is responsible for this locale. The last panel on the page is chilling. The reveal of the synthetics herding the humans ups the creep factor and having them be in air tight helmets makes the humans’ predicament more horrific. The release of the gas recalls horrors done in WWII. The one human who rebels looks great and his succumbing to the gas is a creepy panel due to his posture, his eyes, and the how the gas is inhaled. Amanda’s first appearance is a close-up and she initially appears inhuman due to her solid black eyes. What the heroes spy in the fourth panel on 4 will be very familiar to anyone who has seen an Alien movie. The heroes’ movement on the Gaspar is outstanding, with Page 7 being excellent. The action on 9 is exciting, with the fourth panel making me gasp. Again, there’s no text and Carey creates perfect thrills with his artwork. How the obstacle is dealt with on 10 is gorgeous in its destruction. The visual solution at the bottom of 11 made me smile at its simplicity. The determination in the second panel on 14 is awesome. I love the sequence of events on 15 – 20 with each page upping the tension. For a scene that takes place on the exterior of a spaceship the action is easy to follow and I was very aware of what the results would be if either hero were to detach from the vessel. The final page is a beautiful. Overall grade: A

The colors: From the first page the reader knows that Dan Jackson is an outstanding colorist. The first panel has the planet surrounded by a smooth blue atmosphere, while the building on the asteroid is out of place with its unnatural blacks. I like how colors draw the eyes to the logo in the third panel. The colors in the final panel on the page add to the shock of the illustration: outstanding use of blacks and oranges against a formidable red background. Having the gas colored green increases its foul nature. When the human rebel is struck the background goes a vibrant yellow to show the pain the person receives. Page 3 is a jarring experience because of the lack of colors as Zula and Amanda begin their reconnaissance mission. I like that Amanda’s thought boxes are colored yellow, making the reader aware that they are not reading dialogue. The glares from the lights on 5 and 6 would make J.J. Abrams happy. The individual encountered by the heroes enters with some sensational orange-red backgrounds. The coloring is especially strong on the final pages as the protagonists fight outside the ship. Overall grade: A

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot creates this issue’s scene settings, transmissions and Davis’s speech (the same font), dialogue, sounds, Amanda’s thoughts, and a voice that becomes distant. I like that the transmissions and Davis’s speech look the same; since both are electronic it makes perfect sense. I was very pleased to see that Amanda’s thoughts are different from the dialogue. The sounds on this book are epic, with Page 10 having three different sounds that make the actions killer. Overall grade: A 

The final line: The mystery thickens, while the intelligence of the heroes seems to lessen. Given the heroes’ past exploits, I would think they’d be smarter in figuring out what the company was doing with the colonists, even if they’re observing them from a distance. The visuals are really good. The art and the colors create a really strong sense of terror around every corner, in and outside the ships. I’m still on board for more of this series, but I’m hoping the leads are better than this one plot point. Overall grade: A-

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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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