Monday, March 28, 2016

Review - Aliens: Defiance #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Suck it up, soldier."

In all of our eventual space travels we'll probably encounter life somewhere out there. The hope is that said life likes us and doesn't want to kill us immediately, but that might just be wishful thinking. That threat comes to fruition in Aliens: Defiance #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Brian Wood, illustrated by Tristan Jones and colored by Dan Jackson.

Battling demons from her past while fighting for her life, Colonial Marine Private First Class Zula Hendricks, in the company of Weyland-Yutani synthetics, is forced to question her strength and loyalty when the discovery of an insidious alien species on a derelict hauler sends her on a dangerous journey across the stars.

At this point the Aliens mythos is pretty well-traversed across all mediums, but Wood is looking to put his own stamp on the work. The story in Aliens: Defiance #1 mixes together some of the more familiar actions of Weyland-Yutani with a battle-worn lead character in a way that is intriguing. Wood moves the story along pretty cleanly, getting the reader from point A to point B without hurrying them along. The overall plot is fairly intriguing as well, offering up a new take on the aforementioned familiar mythos. There is some depth to the exploration of the Aliens universe by Wood that is buoyed by some familiarity with the property, but it's not so steeped that a new reader will feel lost.

There's a detached feeling to the illustrations by Jones. This is quite effective at showing the difference between humans, synthetics and the Xenomorphs themselves, ensuring that the reader knows the looks of all the players. The approach also reinforces the notion of solitude in space, as Jones makes each character stand out amongst each other in a way that individualizes them. Some of the facial expressions feel a little too worn and incomplete, but it's not so distracting that the reader loses sight of the bigger picture. Jackson's colors are dull and grim, providing the atmosphere with plenty of dourness and terror.

Aliens: Defiance #1 is another entry in a long line of Aliens canon that draws on some familiar and some not so familiar. Hendricks will be forced to deal with both her internal struggles and those of the mission unfolding around her. Wood's script bears all the hallmarks of his writing style, mixing in the militaristic approach to the characters and setting with the science of Aliens. Jones' illustrations are effective at setting the tone of terror that accompanies the mysteries of space. Aliens: Defiance #1 is definitely worth a read to those looking to explore the Aliens universe a little bit further.

Aliens: Defiance #1 is in stores April 27. Final Order Cutoff is April 4 (FEB160010).


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