Aliens: Resistance #1
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Robert Carey and Dan Jackson
Lettered by Nate Piekos
Published by Dark Horse Comics
‘Rama Rating: 6 out of 10
The continuation of the Aliens franchise is in the hands of video game and comic book creators for the moment, with the cinematic ventures in arrested development since 2017’s Alien: Covenant. In Aliens: Resistance, Brian Wood, Robery Carey, and Dan Jackson continue exploring the backstory of the world, acting as both a sequel to the fan-favorite Alien: Isolation game and the comic book series Aliens: Defiance.
Picking up three years after the events on board the Sevastopol Station, Amanda Ripley (daughter of Ellen) has been blacklisted by Weyland-Yutani. She soon crosses paths with former Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks, the survivor of Brian Wood’s Defiance series. They’ve worked out that the company has (unsurprisingly) weaponized the Xenomorphs despite both of their best efforts to stop that from happening. So they team up to uncover the Company’s nefarious deeds, but have to face technology they’ve never seen before.
Wood presupposes some knowledge coming into this first issue in the limited series, and non-gamers (or readers of his earlier comic books) may initially struggle to get their heads around the relationship between the principal players. Yet once the principal plot gets underway it’s a fairly straightforward affair, albeit with a few traumatic flashbacks to events that happened prior to this debut issue. None of this really lets us get to know the characters at all, and there are long stretches of this issue where there’s no particular urgency to progress the narrative. Wood’s primary purpose here seems to be one of scene-setting, and has presumably left any other detail for the later entries.
Carey and Jackson create a fairly authentic atmosphere, peppering the background with the same 1970s future-tech that we saw in Ridley Scott and James Cameron’s films. Carey’s line art is detailed during the title sequence, showcasing the future of Earth’s metropolises, while at other times is filled with the vast emptiness of interior spaces. A series of low to medium angles provide an interesting perspective on the minimal action, although they also keep the reader at arm’s length as the artist maintains a cool distance from the characters. It’s unsurprising then that Carey’s strongest work comes in the intricate lines that make up the ship exteriors in the back half of this issue.
Jackson’s color art has a lot to do with this coolness as well. It’s a muted color palette that perfectly complements Carey’s point of view. The dusty browns and reds of the Earth exteriors are a sharp contrast with the cold interiors of space vessels. It’s a notable point of difference with the typically dark cinematic universe. There’s one cutaway scene, for example, that is filled with the reddish-orange of a sun low in the sky.
There’s still a lot to like in this debut issue, even if there’s not really a hook per se to maintain consistent reader interest. Told almost entirely without the appearance of a Xenomorph, save for a few silhouettes in the final pages, Wood and his art team show us a side to the Aliens world that is far more grounded than some of the cinematic entries. It’s almost like a prelude in this sense, an “issue zero” that promises a much bigger story that’s about to get underway in the second entry next month.