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: July 21, 2021
Gabriel Cruz (carrying Danny’s unconscious body), Bishop, and Iris follow through on their plan to take separate paths to an escape pod in hopes of escaping Epsilon Station before it burns up in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the fully-matured Alpha Xenomorph can sense Danny and heading down a separate route is harder than it looks for Cruz. Taking some bumps and bruises along the way, we get a lot of exposition explaining the troubled past of Cruz’s career and family life before we arrive at the (un)surprising cliffhanger ending.
Was It Good?
It was informative and action-filled, so yes, it was largely good.
The pieces that work best are the views of uniquely developed Xenomorphs birthed from everything from humans to cattle. Each Xenopmorph is a new creation that looks like it could be part of some sort of intergalactic zoo, and that’s an intriguing concept.
Also, the dialog and pacing for this issue is very good. Chase stories can be more difficult to pull off, and Johnson makes it work in this chapter of the arc. Interspersed in each panel where Cruz feels the Alpha breathing down his neck, the dialog/narration keeps tempo with the action to fill in a ton of background exposition without slowing the pace of the story down.
The parts that don’t quite work are the character art and the timing of the exposition.
Some have complained that the highly referenced art style of the characters (drawn reproductions of photos) is a bit off-putting. I didn’t feel it took away from the series in the prior issue, but it’s more noticeable in this issue, and not in a good. way. The characters look cut/paste, possibly as a result of a mis-step on the shading work, but it really shows poorly in this issue.
The exposition timing is a down point because it’s happening now in issue #5. we find out about a death in the family (not Danny or Cruz’s wife), that puts the emotional stakes of what’s happening on a different level. If the story about this death had been explained earlier in the series, it would have made Danny’s motivations for following in with a terrorist group relatable. In other words, the story about a death in the family makes Danny’s character make sense, but it should have happened long before now.
Alien #5 is good “action/chase” issue with good action art, rapid-fire pacing, and escalating stakes. The character art leaves something to be desired and a key emotional plot point is entered much too late in the story to apply the weight it calls for, but this is a good entry overall.