REVIEW: ‘Alien,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Alien #2

Alien #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Phillip K. Johnson, illustrated by Salvador Larroca, colored by Guru-eFX, and lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles. A now-retired installation security chief, Gabriel Cruz, is haunted by black nightmares. Nightmares that come from witnessing unspeakable horrors. Cruz is a survivor, but he knows they’re searching for him.

Previously, after finally retiring from Epsilon Station, the Weyland-Yutani research facility that orbits Earth, Gabriel Cruz is looking forward to finally coming home and hoping to rebuild his relationship with his estranged son Danny. The meeting goes terribly, but not for the reasons Cruz is aware of, as Danny has fallen in with a group of anti-corporation extremists. Stealing his father’s security card, the group hijack a maintenance drone headed for the space station and plan to use the security access to uncover the dirty truth about the research facility to the world. They find way more they can bargain for, as they accidentally unleash a nightmare from its cage.

Now in Alien #2, Cruz is woken up by an old colleague, Gabe, who’s still stationed aboard the research facility, until he’s not. Gabe tears into Cruz about the situation, enlightening him that his son was part of the organization that broke into the facility and unleashed the Xenomorph test subjects. His task, take two agents up and retrieve the Alpha specimen, or he can expect to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Now Cruz must go back and confront his nightmares, and hope, and pray to someone, that his son is still among the living.

While Johnson’s first issue was a lot more world-building and character introduction, the second issue jumps right into the heat of the situation as the intensity gets dialed up and the stakes are laid out. The story itself paints a somewhat similar sci-fi horror trope, as two young bucks accompany the experienced lead, thinking they’re going to rip it up, bag it, tag it, and get the heck home. Then we see more of the past life of Cruz as an orbital military personnel where he embodies those same brash antagonistic feelings as Johnson highlights the cyclical nature of life.

Where the issue really kicks it up is during the latter stages of the story through the visuals of Larroca. His style in capturing the details of the internal wreckage of the space station and mixing with the colors of GURU-eFX. The red glow of the warning system, mixed with the darkened shadowy areas, creates a lovely, terrifying image to hide some unwanted alien figures. Larocca himself is able to capture some great action within the issue and really manifest the feeling of the Alien films.

Where I tend to wish they’d drawn back on is the overuse of the close up facial features of the characters. Visually there just seems to be an abundance of this style, and as mentioned before, Larocca’s detail in his background work is stellar. Where in the extreme close up he seems intent to show as much detail as he can, but I’d argue with a horror comic like this, less is more and to let the shading, and colors create the atmosphere. Anyone who loves a good horror knows, sometimes your mind is the more imaginative and horrifying place of all, so let the reader make those gaps.

The lettering was really good from Cowles. I was especially fond of his design of the onomatopoeia. Lots of action creates many ways to be imaginative with that visual display of sound, and Cowles really got into it during this issue. The dialogue placement worked really well through the issue, too, so much so that I blasted through this issue so much quicker than I expected!

Overall, I thought this was a solid issue that equated to a real page-turner. I had a few small quips with the approach to the art, but those final few pages, oh wow, absolutely beautiful stuff. We’re into the real meat of the story now, so I’m eagerly anticipating issue three.

Alien #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Alien issue #2
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TL;DR

Overall, I thought this was a solid issue that equated to a real page-turner. I had a few small quips with the approach to the art, but those final few pages, oh wow, absolutely beautiful stuff. We’re into the real meat of the story now, so I’m eagerly anticipating issue three.