Alien has had a good start at Marvel Comics, and this week they’re adding to the mythos in a new way with the standalone story Aliens: Aftermath #1. Written by Benjamin Percy with art by Dave Wachter, this comic takes place 35 years after the tragedy of the Hadley’s Hope colony, which took place in the sequel film Aliens. Aptly titled, this one-shot is literally set in the aftermath of that event.
It goes without saying, and you can see it in the preview for this issue, if you leave your spaceship you are probably going to die when Xenomorphs are involved. Set in the year 2214, this issue opens with a few renegade-type characters. Percy helps establish the personalities of these characters in part to test them later but also to carve out a different type of hero in this universe. The uniqueness of this group is one of the most interesting draws to this issue, and it helps supply some commentary on humanity in the process.
Percy made it clear when the book was announced his love for this property goes back to his childhood, and it shows. There’s a clever twist on the Alien in this issue, as well as themes of greed and corporations completely uncaring when it comes to human life. In that way, the book works.
If you’re looking for some bone-chilling moments of violence, you’ve come to the right place. Wachter does well to capture the utter horror of an unsuspecting human in a spacesuit getting violently attacked. You get it from the cold dead eyes of the human being pierced, for instance, as they don’t even understand why they are spurting blood before they’re dead. If you’re interested in picking up this issue to see Aliens, creepy locations, and death, you won’t be disappointed.
Wachter is backed up by color artist Chris Sotomayor and letterer VC’s Ariana Maher. Sotomayor really makes the Alien come alive. it’s a unique take and the glowing effects work well with the boney and gross Alien design we’ve come to love. The absence of light is clear throughout the issue and Sotomayor makes holograms and other light effects work well within the space. Letters keep the heavier bits of dialogue clean and understandable and when tensions rise you can feel it in the letters.
Fans should come in with a bit of patience, though. The issue takes some time to get into a groove and draw you in. An opening action scene has a rather nondescript explosion that doesn’t quite satiate the action appetite. Once the characters are entering danger and the promise of Xenomorph action, however, it kicks up to an appropriate level.
Aliens: Aftermath has all the fixings one could desire in an Alien story: the unfeeling corporate overlords, the dread and unease of what could be in the shadows, and plenty of Alien mayhem too. This is all elevated with some interesting character work and an angle on the story we haven’t seen in an Alien story before. It’s creepy, it’s thrilling, and it’s definitely not game over for the franchise at Marvel Comics.
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