Review: Aliens: Defiance #2

If you know the Alien saga, then you know what you’re getting here. We know that the aliens will show up and when they do all hell will break loose and people will die. In the first issue of Aliens: Defiance the suspense just wasn’t there and the aliens were revealed in an uninteresting way. There wasn’t enough build up to be afraid for the characters. In this issue that problem was definitely fixed. The main character Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks has joined forces with her rouge android partners to eliminate the remaining xenomorphs on a space station. The story takes elements from the first few Alien movies. Zula and her team slowly uncover more evidence of the xenomorphs. The tension is there because we don’t see the creatures but we know they’re there and so do the characters. What makes this issue unique is that it focused more on the internal struggle of Zula as she reflects on her past failures and how this new threat is testing her. Much like Ripley the strength and courage to battle the hideous alien threat, Zula does the same.

29851The action scenes are very much improved. The pacing of each page during the confrontation with the alien shows just enough detail to be terrifying. The layouts still mirror a lot of the scenes you would see in the movie and unfold in the same order that a camera shot would. The layers of shadow that are shaded into the space station keep the mystery and tension going. Part of the terror of space is that you never know what’s in the dark void around you and that definitely is used to set the tone of this sci-fi horror series. Unfortunately some of the same artistic issues occur here. Character designs are inconsistent in some pages and background details are weak.

Overall I’m torn about how to feel about this series. If it were a movie then the story would be strong enough to hold my attention and the special effects would distract me from the flaws but because it’s a comic book I just expect more. The Alien franchise has a successful formula that is hard to mess up. Comic books rely on strong storytelling and consistent artwork. The artwork is pretty weak overall in this series thus far. The storytelling is enough to make it an enjoyable read.

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Aliens: Defiance #2 Writer: Brian Wood Artist: Tristan Jones Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/25/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital