Alien #1 – Recap and Review
Marvel Comics has acquired the rights to the Alien Franchise, displacing longtime publisher Dark Horse; as you might expect, they’re making some updates.
The first issue leaves things mysterious as we meet our hero, Gabriel Cruz, who seems to be suffering from a undisclosed “terminal condition” that may just be an alien embryo put there by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation as part of a secret plot. Nothing out of the ordinary for the alien universe, except we watch this character’s actions over months.
Never before has a alien embryo taken that long to mature. Furthermore, Gabriel receives psychological counseling from Bishop the Android. In surreal flashback sequences we see Gabe cocooned in an alien hive, and, what’s that?
The alien queen appears as she never has before; an entirely anthropomorphic humanoid version of the alien queen rules over the hive? These are some radical changes to the lore!
Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson keeps the story focused on Gabe as we learn that he is retiring as security chief for the villainous corporation of the Alien Franchise, and we learn glimpses of the back story through Gabe’s counseling by Bishop the android psychotherapist. I found the moment a wonderful piece of writing because we the audience can imagine the creepiness of bearing your soul to a machine which delivers affirmations as though it were a real person with shared human experiences.
Gabriel has suffered a horrible psychological trauma for which Bishop seeks to aid in the recovery of lost, possibly repressed, memories. But the memories are of being cocooned in the alien hive and having an up close encounter with a face-hugger. Shouldn’t Gabe be dead?
The story tells us that Gabe has to retire from being Security Chief of Epsilon Station. They discuss his terminal condition, but what is he dying from? Presumably, the face huggers we keep seeing in his flashback.
Except, we watch Gabe express some meaningless sentiments at his going away party where no one seems to know he’s dying. Gabe then takes a month long transit back to a civilized world. And the story follows Gabe and his son Casey over a two month period. No alien embryo ever took that long before.
And those flashbacks he has? Is that the new look of the Queen alien?
As you can see, the issue reinterprets the lore of the Alien universe. As someone following the Dark Horse comics, the continuity of the universe became a bit of a straight jacket to the comic storylines. The mystery of the alien organism has been entirely spelled out by the movies the comics seek to emulate, leaving us with an entirely understood and, by now, predictable villain.
It’s about time someone came along to shake things up with his tired franchise.
In terms of plot, Casey (Gabe’s son), crusades against Weyland-Yutani and has no respect for his father for having worked there. We can entirely understand Casey’s point. Of course, when Casey steals his Dad’s old security pass to go infiltrate into Epsilon station in order to sabotage it, we are not surprised when he and his co-conspirators find themselves in the bioweapons lab.
We know where this is going.
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