In Review: Aliens: Resistance #3

A new setting brings new terrors, but there's still not much not much alien action in this Aliens book.

The covers: Two covers to find before they find you. The Regular cover by Tristan Jones features Amanda and Zula crouching down in some tall grass as several xenomorphs walk by, searching for them. The creatures look fierce and the protagonists look terrific. I also like the mist effect down on the ground. A very cool cover. The Variant cover is by Roberto de la Torre has Zula in the forest with her rifle hanging off her shoulder. She has her hands on her hips as she considers her next step. What she doesn’t notice is the xenomorph’s poised above her, ready to strike. Great image and this is the cover I picked up. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: In a classified location, Amanda Ripley and Zula Hendricks are plummeting to a planet as the Gaspar orbits around the world. There’s no way the pair can match the velocity of the ship, but Amanda has a plan when the ship passes by. She tells Zula, “We go on the next one. Hold tight…One way or the other, this’ll be over soon.” She pops a compartment on her spacesuit and something happens. This was a very clever solution to the heroes’ fates by writer Brian Wood. Once on the planet, the women find the Gaspar and discover that its occupants have left it. It’s at this point that Wood reveals what’s happened to the people and it’s not pretty. There’s a really tense scene on Pages 10 – 14 involving one of the passengers, with the justification for his action at the top of 14 absolutely believable. There’s some slight xenomorph action in this issue and a major reveal on 15 and 16 that would have me running almost as fast from the aliens. The last four pages start a countdown clock on the protagonists as a familiar character returns and tells them that plans have been made. I enjoyed the opening sequence in space which is something that created some solid sci-fi chills and why the clock is now running on the heroines has me very interested to see what’s going to happen next. That said, I would have like to have had some more aliens in my Aliens comic book. We’re three issues in and still not seen much of the title characters. Overall grade: B 

The art: Robert Carey’s art really looks sharp in this issue. The space scenes that start the book look amazing. I especially like how Amanda and Zula are introduced to the reader as incredibly small in the opening panel before pulling in to a close-up of the pair. I like how they are shown as upside down in that close-up, which is a position that every reader will identify as unfavorably. The Gaspar looks incredible as it speeds by, and every panel on Page 3 is wonderful with tension. I really like that it’s not initially explained to the reader how the pair get out of their predicament and that the visuals on 5 have to be enough for the moment. That said, it is easy to understand what’s occurred, though there is an explanation later in the book. The massive scale of the Gaspar on the planet is fantastic and I loved seeing Zula next to one of the open hatches. Scale is also important when the colonists are shown, with them looking as though they’re in a forest that would make Sequoia National Park look minuscule. The drop that hits one colonist at the end of Page 8 is enough for fans of the series to know what’s about to occur. Page 9 is graphic, but there needs to be some graphic moments to remind the reader what these creatures are capable of. The colonist on the run is done without text and is a terrific sequence of images: very fluid, lots of tension, with the leap on 13 killer. The design of the individuals on 15 and 16 is great and their reaction to gunfire at the top of the latter is enough to make me agree with Amanda’s sentiment. The opening three panels on 17 is a slick way to show the transition of time on the world as well as mirror the powerful shots from Scott’s classic film. The final page has some excellent imagery, with each panel building the tension until closing on the women’s reactions to what they’ve just learned. I really liked this issue’s art. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The book opens with an awesome contrast of black and white, with the the void of space in ebony and the fall of the women in a heavenly white. The Gaspar is engulfed in deadly oranges and yellows as it begins its plummet to the planet. I love that Dan Jackson has the women in white, it gives them an ethereal tone as if all will be fine as they die. The sound effect on Page 4 has the softest blue that suits the action. The foliage of the world has a beautiful green that makes the planet seem idyllic, were it not for the creatures infesting it. The browns and tans that have torn at these greens where the Gaspar landed is a great contrast to the cool, calming emeralds. The colonists’ off-orange jumpsuits have them stand out very well in the forests, making them easy to see by anyone, even non-humans. The crimson on 9 is graphic, but needs to be to show the ferocity of the beasts. Gunfire looks terrific with blasts of yellow surrounded by orange. I love the blues used for the weapons’ computer monitors. The greens and oranges on 13 are fantastic. The different shades of blue that are created for the dark night on the world are cool and creepy. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot is the artist behind the issue’s scene settings, ship identifiers, and character identifier (all three the same font), dialogue and narration (same font), yells, sounds, and transmissions. The first three texts look fine in the same design: they have a very stark, emotionless look, which is what one would expect from Weyland-Yutani databanks. The dialogue and narration is the same font, differed only by the balloons and boxes and colors that contain them. I prefer to see them in different fonts, but they’re fine. The sounds are few, with quite a bit of gunfire in one sequence, but sadly only having a voice in one panel, which made the gunfire scenes somewhat impotent. This isn’t Piekos’s fault, as sound effects are dictated by the writer. I just wish Wood had been more consistent with his sounds. The transmissions at the end of the book are in italics, giving it a neat mechanical voice. Overall grade: B- 

The final line: A new setting brings new terrors, but there’s still not much not much alien action in this Aliens book. The opening sequence is fun, as is what’s revealed, but this has been a really long tease to encountering the creatures. I did really enjoy the art, with the illustrations and colors creating some fantastic images. A lack of consistent sounds is also hurting this book, as every noise would put the reader on edge, as they did in the films. I liked this issue, but am finding myself impatient to get to see the draws of the title fully appear. 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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