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'Aliens: What If…?' #1 does enough to make you want more

Comic Books

‘Aliens: What If…?’ #1 does enough to make you want more

‘Aliens: What If…?’ sets up a new path for Paul Reiser’s Carter Burke.

A new kind of What If…? story kicks off this week focusing in on Aliens. The iconic series is branching out and going big with its first stab outside of Marvel Comics, with actor Paul Reiser joining in on the fun. The new miniseries asks the question, “What if Carter Burke had lived?” It’s an angle you might not have seen coming, but it sets its five-issue story arc up well.

Read our interview with Paul Reiser about the series here.

It’s an interesting endeavor to play in a different sandbox with the What If…? brand, and for the most part, this first issue succeeds. Written by Hans Rodionoff and Adam F. Goldberg with a concept by Reiser and his son Leon, Rodionoff, Goldberg, and Brian Volk-Weiss, one can see this story as a kind of pitch to Hollywood that the Alien license can spread its wings a bit more.

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Like any good What If… story, this issue opens before this story splits from the original. That catches readers up on Burke’s whole deal and his two-faced nature amongst the crew. Even casual fans can get in on the fun thanks to the opening. This opening also supplies plenty of action to sustain the rest of the issue, which is mostly set up for where the story splits off from the film.

Once the story splits, it does some heavy lifting to make it clear Burke isn’t an evil guy, just an opportunistic person. He’s also a bit of a victim of the Weyland corporation. This firmly establishes Burke as a kind of reluctant yet somewhat shady good guy for future issues.

Aliens what if

Light em up!
Credit: Marvel

The story takes a surprisingly comedic turn later on, revealing Burke years later and much older. His life is not that interesting, and his existence is pretty depressing. One can see the creative team is establishing a regular guy who will use his ability to plot and plan to his advantage for one last go at making things right. Or at least making himself rich. There’s also a wrinkle involving Ripley and her crew that’s tantalizing. I’ll not spoil it, but know that it could play a compelling part in future issues.

Artist Guiu Vilanova does a fantastic job with likenesses, especially with Burke. It’s practically a movie in some scenes with a great rendition of Reiser when he was younger and then older when the story jumps ahead. The book has a very real look and feel thanks to the art and colors by Yen Nitro. The Alien and their eggs look gross and scary while the technology is spot on. Spaceships look like they were plucked from the big screen.

Overall, I liked Aliens: What If…? #1, as it shows the potential to tell more stories with side characters you’d never conceive of getting the focus. This issue also establishes some interesting avenues for the story, which could easily fill out its five-issue run. With Paul Reiser at the helm, Aliens: What If…? will please fans of the franchise and sci-fi fanatics alike.

'Aliens: What If…?' #1 does enough to make you want more
‘Aliens: What If…?’ #1 does enough to make you want more
What If...? Aliens #1
Overall, I liked Aliens: What If…? #1, as it shows the potential to tell more stories with side characters you'd never conceive of getting the focus. This issue also establishes some interesting avenues for the story, which could easily fill out its five-issue run. With Paul Reiser at the helm, Aliens: What If...? will please fans of the franchise and sci-fi fanatics alike.
Reader Rating2 Votes
8.7
Plenty of action up front while the narrative sets up where the story is going
Recontextualizes Burke as a character you can commiserate with
On the slower end for first issues setting a bunch of things up
Might hammer home too much how Burke isn't an evil guy which feels a touch off from the film
8
Good
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