REVIEW: ‘Alien,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Alien #3

Alien #3 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, it’s revealed that Gabe’s estranged son Danny has snuck aboard the Epsilon space station and accidentally released a violent alien species free to infect the crew. Gabe takes a small crew of mercenaries up with him to collect a live specimen for the corporation Weyland-Yutani. Unfortunately, things go terribly wrong when the rescue group is attacked by two face huggers and a fully formed Xenomorph.

Now in the current issue, Cruz is a man down and is desperately surveying the situation to complete his mission and save his son. The encounter brings up memories of the first time Gabe and a crew responded to a rescue call under attack from Xenomorphs, and the memories might just save his life.

Kennedy has done a great job in crafting a tense story full of intrigue. He also finds a way to layer in these fascinating subplots that create a desire to know more, a hook for you to want to come back. During one scene, there is a mention of another being that calls back to an earlier image first seen in the opening issue. Kennedy effectively has designed a giant carrot on the stick that any fan of this genre will be happy to sink their teeth into finally.

Sadly, where this issue is hitting bumps is in the visualization, both from an artistic level and with the colors. Both the art and the colors fundamentally suffer from the same problem: everything is just too clear and too visible.

This may seem like an odd criticism at first glance, but stick with me. The Alien franchise has been so successful in the horror genre because of those dark tones. So dark, in fact, I remember drawing closer to the TV to make out the details so that when the big jumps happened, I practically hit the ceiling. However, the colors pop, and the art brings the visuals clearly front and center to be focused on.

Lastly, piggybacking off of this, we see the Xenomorphs far too often, and again because they’re so clear, it just detracts from the terrifying mystique of these genetically engineered creatures.

The lettering from Cowles does a good job of balancing the placement of the dialogue so as not to detract from the artwork. The design of the onomatopoeia was well done and works clearly enough. Nothing spectacular, but functional.

Overall, the issue reads really well, and Kennedy does a great job of creating tension. Additionally, his larger plot has me extremely intrigued, and I want to know more. He knows how to develop a great hook. The art and the coloring, however, are slightly lacking that element of impactful horror. It’s fun, just a little too bright in its tone, which hinders the visuals.

Alien #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Alien #3
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, the issue reads really well, and Kennedy does a great job of creating tension. Additionally, his larger plot has me extremely intrigued, and I want to know more. He knows how to develop a great hook. The art and the coloring, however, are slightly lacking that element of impactful horror. It’s fun, just a little too bright in its tone, which hinders the visuals.