Written by: Brian Wood
Art by: Tristan Jones
Color by: Dan Jackson
The Alien franchise has always held a special place in my stomach (get it), as it was my first real taste of sci-fi horror and graphic gore. I still remember hiding Alien comics from my parents for fear of punishment and the classic “your rotting your brain” speech. Now, here we are 30 years later and I’m still reading and loving Alien comics and thankfully Dark Horse is still releasing them, their latest being Aliens: Defiance #1.
In Alien: Defiance #1 we are introduced to disabled Marine Zula Hendricks as she is sent on what is a seemingly routine mission to salvage a ship for the Weyland-Yutani corporation. It wouldn’t be an Alien adventure if things didn’t go horrible wrong as the ship is over run with Xenomorphs. As Weyland-Yutani’s true ploy is reveled the expeditions synthetic leader has other plans.
The thing I liked most about this comic is it felt inherently Aliens. Wood understands the property and what makes it popular. This also means it doesn’t really explore any new narrative ground, as we get very familiar characters, dynamics and even plot twists. But again, Wood makes this story feel right at home in the Alien universe with its tension, intrigue and the most importantly, intense violence and gore. We are forced to make some logic leaps, as I found myself asking why the Marines would send a solider who can barely walk on a mission, but that can be explained in subsequent issues. Despite some minor miss steps Wood still manages to set up a compelling Aliens tale.
In Alien comics the art is always extremely important as it must balance a ton of factors including maintaining the aesthetic of the films. Tristan Jones provides pencils that perfectly encapsulate everything I loved about those 90s Aliens comics. His lines are jagged and gritty but with impeccable detail. While Dan Jackson ups the tension and intensity with his color pallet and use of dramatic tones. Jones and Jackson combines powers in Aliens: Defiance #1 to create imagery that will have every Aliens fan bursting from the chest with excitement.
Aliens: Defiance #1 is not a perfect comic as it has some minor plot holes and logic leaps but Wood, Jones and Jackson create a comic that hearkens back to the hay day of the Alien franchise. Its a good start with some stellar art but lets hope the story tightens and the action intensifies as the journey continues.