After last month’s superb offering, Alien: Defiance looks to keep the narrative momentum going with another tale of isolated terror in deep space. Is it good?
Alien: Defiance #5 (Dark Horse Comics)
- Uh, hold on a second. Did I miss something?
- *Flips through last issue*
- This is a really good/tense scene, but how did we even get here?
- Oh. A flash forward. One of my ‘favorite’ storytelling devices.
- Zula Hendricks continues to impress with her level of badassery.
- Not sure about this new person, though.
- Flashbacks are fine, especially when they’re this good and gory.
- Check out Davis with the (very justified) rage!
- …and we’re right back where we started. Yay.
Is It Good?
I really want to like this issue more than I do.
The art by Tristan Jones is outstanding, particularly in the aforementioned flashback sequence. The main story by Brian Wood is also very good. I loved the way he showed Davis becoming more human while Hendricks is forced to be colder than she’d ever imagined.
Unfortunately, this cool entry in Alien: Defiance’s first chapter is derailed a bit by sequencing. Starting an issue with a flash forward can be effective, but you run the risk of making the jump back and lead up to the present feels inconsequential.
In this issue’s case, the flash forward leaves off at an incredibly tense (and somewhat confusing) moment before jumping back and leading right up to to a completely different (and somewhat less tense) point in time. Instead of syncing up the narrative in a satisfying manner, it feels like we’ve been cheated out of two separate resolutions—one of which lacks any urgency/stakes due to the reader’s foresight.
All that being said, however, the main story is still a lot of fun. Despite there not being a lot of action, Tristan Jones gets plenty of opportunities to draw his beautifully grostesque xenomorphs. We also end up with an interesting new character and one hell of a moral quandary for Hendricks (which we saw in the first four pages, but whatever). It’s a shame that such a great story had to be sidetracked by sequencing issues, but it’s still plenty good enough to enjoy.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!