Written By: Philip Kennedy Johnson
Art By: Salvador Larroca
Colors By: GURU-eFX
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art By: InHyuk Lee
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 26, 2021
In Alien #3, Gabe Cruz and his hapless support team encounter their first xenomorphs with the expected end result. As Gabe and the surviving members of the support team make their way through Epsilon station, they encounter civilians who’re dead but don’t know it yet, terrorists and disguise, and a very welcome synthetic human.
Was It Good?
It was good enough to keep the story moving from the previous issue but it lacked a clear chapter structure to have it stand on its own. Even within a serialized story arc, you need to have a beginning, middle, and end to each chapter, and that’s patently missing here. It makes for incomplete and, therefore, dissatisfying storytelling.
The art is grounded and realistic. Not everyone likes the highly rendered look of the characters but it suits the material well.
What’s It About?
Gabe, his soldier colleagues, and the lab intern they found in a locker in the last issue, make their way through Epsilon station to find the Alpha and Danny, Gabe’s son.
We pick up where we left off at the end of the last issue with the group confronted by their first xenomorph who rips through the first soldier with ease. What’s a little different here is this xenomorph appears to be somewhat bulletproof. That’s a new twist on Alien canon that could make for interesting storytelling. You can’t kill it if it doesn’t bleed.
Flash back to 20 years ago when Gabe Cruz first encountered xenomorphs. HIs squad made their way through another ship that’s only supposed to be carrying farmers and livestock. When they enter a large cargo area, they find genetically modified goats have strange line marks on their face.
Back to the present, Gabe and the survivors of his group continue searching the base where they find an old friend, Mitch, and work buddy from when Gabe worked on the base. Mitch is out of it, and Gabe notices he has the same marks on his face as the goats in the flashback. Gabe immediately shoots him, much to the shock of his team. That’s when we see a chestburster straining to break free from Mitch’s dead body.
This scene combined with the flashback sets up the idea that you can identify who is and isn’t infected with a xenomorph embryo. That’s certainly a departure from the film canon. Sure, it makes things easier for the protagonist, but not knowing builds tension. Unless this plays it in an unexpected way later, this choice lessens the fear factor of this comic.
When the chestburster breaks free of Mitch, Gabe catches it in a cryo-container to (presumably)satisfy his deal with the WY Corporation. Before things start to feel a little more under control, the intern tries to swipe a goal from the last soldier, but Gabe gets the drop on her with his own pistol.
With all pretense gone, the intern is revealed to be the leader of the terrorists who infiltrated the station. Gabe suspected she wasn’t who she said she was, and he tries to convince him to find Danny. She runs for it, but Gabe has his hands full dealing with a second chestburster that slithered out of Mitch’s mouth. That’s new and either an oversight or a tip off that the xenomorph birthing process has adapted to WY’s experimentation. We’ll see.
We conclude the issue with a reappearance of the bulletproof xenomorph who gets chased off by a certain flamethrower-wielding synth named Bishop.
Again, things are happening, but there’s not clear start and finish to what’s happening so you feel like you’re given something incomplete.
Alien #3 hits all the tropes of an Alien story, continues the main thread of a terrorist attack, but lacks enough structure to feel like you’re reading something that could be a standalone chapter. I like the art, and the visual tone of an Alien story is there, but the storytelling structure falls short.