The Alien franchise has officially made its debut in the pages of Marvel comics. With promises of all-new stories, along with characters both new and old, anticipation for the series was high. With its debut issue hitting comic shops last month, the wait is over. So how was the big debut? Well, like any true horror classic, this story begins in darkness.
The story opens with an unseen colonial marine speaking to someone about his experience facing the xenomorphs. He explains: “The dark I see is a truer shade than just the absence of light. You can’t find it just by clapping your hands over your eyes. Dark like this gets into you, penetrates you, tightens around your skull, presses into your eye sockets until something pops and even the memory of light—even the belief in light—drains away.”
Cut away to a full page spread of an army of alien xenomorphs led by a strange feminine alien with a human-like appearance, and we see what is likely a seed of things to come.
We find out that the man speaking is Gabriel Cruz, a former colonial marine who had a severe close encounter with the aliens, one which seemingly resulted in the death of his entire team years prior. Cruz is speaking to an android therapist from the infamous Weyland-Yutani corporation, who resembles the “Bishop” model played by Lance Henriksen from the Aliens movie franchise. In just a few short pages, Marvel has already delivered on their promise to blend the old in with the new.
Cruz speaks to Bishop about the haunting dreams which followed his near-death experience. As Cruz leaves, it is revealed that he is retiring from the company and moving to Earth. Bishop informs him that the company will transfer his memory files to another Bishop model planet side, where they can continue their conversation.
Cruz is given a retirement party, where he is honored by Weyland-Yutani. He reveals that he intends to spend time getting to know his son, Danny.
Danny visits his father back on Earth, and it is evident during the conversation that their relationship is strained. Danny despises Weyland-Yutani, and blames them for the death of the rest of his family, including his brother Lucas. The fact that his father still works for the company has driven a wedge between the two. The visit is brief, as Danny’s true intentions were to steal his father’s security clearance card. He speeds away with his girlfriend who appears excited at the data they can obtain from the card.
Gabe flashes back to his previous encounter with the aliens, where he and one of his squad mates appear to be in dire straits as a xenomorph approaches them. The memory cuts away to another therapy session with Bishop on Earth. Gabe remarks how he wishes the memory banks of the previous Bishop who was in his squad could have been preserved, as he considered him to be a friend. When asked if Gabe spoke to his son about his “retirement,” we learn that Gabe is not actually retired but is dying of an unknown illness. Bishop tells Gabe that he should try speaking to his son again.
As for Danny, we find out that he used his father’s card to infiltrate Epsilon Station with a small group of anti-corporate soldiers, including his girlfriend, Iris. Despite considering themselves the “good guys,” the group shows no remorse after murdering two Weyland-Yutani security guards in a gruesome manner.
The group discovers a lab with several alien test subjects. They kill a few scientists before one of them sets off a security alarm. The group shoots two more scientists who fall backwards, breaking the stasis pods containing several face huggers. Danny watches as his squad is attacked by the face huggers, before one leaps directly at him. The image fades to black as his father’s opening words echo again…
“Dark like this gets into you, penetrates you, tightens around your skull, presses into your eye sockets until something pops and even the memory of light—even the belief in light—drains away.”
This is a fairly solid opening issue for Marvel. The artwork is both dark and realistic, and the story blends in elements of familiarity with the popular movie franchise. There is plenty of intrigue as to what happened to Gabe and Danny’s family, and even more in regards to the details of Gabe’s illness. It seems likely by his flashbacks that Gabe survived a face hugger attack, especially as his words perfectly echo Danny’s apparent fate at the end of the issue. There are certainly some lingering questions to be answered. Is Danny’s fate sealed? Perhaps if Gabe survived a face hugger attack, he may hold the answer to that question. We eagerly await what’s next in Alien #2.