The first thing the Engineer does is wander off, giving our marines a chance to escape. There’s a meandering sense of storytelling here; it feels even more that way due to the last issue's similar meandering quality. But details and the addition of new information starts to compel the story forward (i.e., Where have they landed and what is this strange world?). Suddenly, the story blows up and a handful of unexpected things happen in a few pages, with the marines finding themselves on the brink of utter annihilation.
I have no idea if this was planned or a happy accident, but that sort of meandering feeling left me totally unprepared for these big story development moments (Underwhelm your audience before punching them in the face?), and it became a far more thrilling venture that has left me excited for the third issue. The poop has hit the fan. The difficult thing about all of this is the Engineer is an esoteric character, dealing with ideas that are mostly philosophically frightening, whereas the rest of the creatures in this universe are visceral. The Predators and Xenomorphs exist on hunting their prey. To marry the esoteric and visceral worlds in a coherent fashion I imagine is a difficult task. Hopefully, Dan Abnett (Aquaman: Rebirth) will find that balance in the next issue now that cards have been played.
I felt the art in the last issue was off, as well. The scale of things and the atmosphere weren't cohesive. Andrea Mutti and Rain Beredo have corrected themselves. There’s an otherworldliness that fits this issue. The details, like seeing strange insects and creatures in the corners of the panels, adds to the slowly building intensity and uncertainty. How can these creatures be living on a planet that is essentially uninhabitable? The answers seem forthcoming.