While I’m a big fan of the Alien franchise, it has been awhile since anything really new has been introduced to the mix. As I began reading the first issue of the Aliens Defiance series, I began to think that this too was going to be a rehash of the mythology and not much more beyond that. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the second half of the comic go in a different direction, changing a solid if not unspectacular read into something exciting and new.
The story begins with Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks and a squad of Weyland-Yutani synthetic/drone soldiers investigating what happened to a certain abandoned spacecraft. This setup is solid and you quickly begins to see the trust issues between the drone soldiers and marines but that combined with the abandoned spaceship’s dark and creepy atmosphere still cries out ‘been there, done that’ to the reader.
However, the second half of the comic is where the story comes to life, adding some intrigue and many interesting possibilities to a story that could have just coasted on the franchises past success. The relationship between Zula Hendricks and the drones turns out to be a very interesting, if not complicated one that just adds to curious nature of where this series is intent on going.
Writer Brian Wood walks the reader through this first episode in a very well thought out manner, laying down the basic premise and then just when the reader thinks they know what’s going on, completely turns the story on its head. Wood seems daring and eager to take a well done, if not often repeated, franchise and give it a good twist and good on him for going somewhere new. It definitely opens up many possibilities for the rest of this series.
The art by Tristan Jones and colors by Dan Jackson are also a nice companion for the story. The setting seems real, the characters as well, and it all seems to come together in a wonderfully dirty and dark mess that seemed to have layers of violence, both mesmerizing and harsh. There is also a sense of foreboding, the settings having that great creepy feel to them. There were a handful of times where some characters facial expressions and even outlines got lost in certain panels with a lot going on but these are just minor quibbles in what was a very good looking comic.
What I thought was going to be just a familiar re-telling of an old yet successful franchise turned into a great comic book that has me very interested in where they intend to take this story. Wherever it’s headed, kudos to Brian Wood for making this a much more complex story line that now has room to go in many different directions.
Four out of five stars