What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the Marvel debut of Alien #1! Honestly I was really digging this series when it was being published by Dark Horse Comics. When the news broke out that Marvel was taking back the license to publish the Alien books again? Part of me was left wary about how that would turn out. I mean, would they really be able to capture the same essence that past Alien books did? Dig into the same well of creativity to offer a unique and original story? Or even tap into the endless content offered by what already exists in this universe? There was no way to no until this first issue hit stands!
Now the good thing about this run of Alien is that obviously this creative team is trying to go the original story route. I think we can all appreciate this because there is never a time switching up publishers where you want to chance telling a story that branches off of something else. You want to take full advantage of the opportunity to bring in both new readers and old readers. And there’s no better way to do that than to start everyone off with a story where everything is new. A new protagonist, and new situations to boot. The only thing which remains the same about this story is the fact that at the end of the day, everything comes back to what goes wrong when you get tangled in the desires of Weyland-Yutani. This was the best recipe to create an experience which keeps you on your toes.
This brings us to the core of this story. I would say that this is the part I was thrilled by the most. The idea that there is really no escaping this world once you have been exposed to it. In the case of Gabriel Cruz, this is another character in the Alien universe where the horror is not only surviving the experience of facing a Xenomorph, but not knowing that there is a chance of getting dragged back into that horror. Though before that, there is just a father trying to reconnect with his son. And effort I appreciated to see in this first issue because it takes us back to the other core concept of this universe. The reality that Weyland-Yutani are the villains. Having to reconnect with an abandoned son tells you all you needed to know about how anyone else would view those who are connected to that corporation.
Where that leaves us is the horror, because at the end of the day this isn’t an Alien book if we aren’t seen the horror or believing it. Fortunately for us this creative team did not disappoint there. Not with the source of the horror, or how it was going to be awakened once again on the Epsilon station. Up till the moment where crap hits the fan, you would have assumed the normal way that things go wrong, but this creative team took a more unique approach towards unleashing hell on the unsuspecting.
That said, the best thing this Alien comic has going for it? They brought in a banger of an art team. You couldn’t have asked for a better pair than Salvador Larroca and Guru-eFX. These two make the kind of art team that tells you before you even flip to the first page that you are in store for some quality visuals. And to that extent they did not disappoint one bit. When I looked at that first page covered with Xenomorphs? I was blown away by the stunning detail that went into rendering these monsters. The line work, the textures, the range in dark tones which produced many of the Xenomorphs which never once meshed into the other. After that, there was everything to love about the way that Larroca draws these characters. Their reactions are raw, body language is strong, overall you believed every bit of tension that the Cruz’s in particular experienced. And after that, there was the appreciation for the gore that clearly they are no strangers to, considering the violence they throw us into in great detail by the end. For a Marvel book, it says a lot that they are allowed not to shy away from showing us what the insides of some of these characters look like on the outside.
To say that no one is safe by the end of Alien #1 is quite the understatement. This story so far should be a breath of fresh air for Alien fans who want to see that Marvel can keep up with the quality books we had gotten before they took the license.