MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Aliens: Resistance serves as both a direct continuation to writer Brian Wood and artist Tristian Jones’ superb Aliens: Defiance mini-series (Provided are links where you can read Fanbase Press’ reviews of Aliens: Defiance #1, as well as the trade paperbacks for Volume 1 and Volume 2), as well as pseudo-sequel to the phenomenal video game, Alien: Isolation, which sees Ellen Ripley’s daughter searching for her long-lost mother and finds instead, of course, xenomorphs. (Trust me, the game is far more impressive than the trite plot description conveys.) After the events of Isolation and Defiance, both Amanda Ripley and ex-Colonial Marine Zula Hendricks find themselves under the thumb of The Company and decide to answer that punishment by working together to expose and destroy Weyland-Yutani’s continuing efforts to exploit the xenomorph for the bio-weapons division.
With Resistance, Wood continues to weave new Aliens mythos that imbue the cinematic and gritty sci-fi feel that is present throughout the original three films of the franchise. While the atmosphere is familiar, Wood’s first issue shows us much we haven’t seen before, such as some pretty clear examples of just how miserable life on Earth is (Apparently, Ron Perlman wasn’t wrong when he described it as a “shithole” in Alien Resurrection), as well as various ways The Company keeps the masses desperate, powerless, and willing to accept next to nothing in the face of Weyland-Yutani’s interests. While I still believe Amanda Ripley is a character who needs to be used very sparingly at the risk of making the Alien mythos seem too small, it’s clear that the popularity of Isolation is causing her to take a more prominent role in the future of the franchise, and Wood makes her likable, brave, and strong, without feeling like a carbon copy of her mother. Of course, the real energy of the issue comes from the return of Zula Hendricks. The former Marine was a breath of fresh air in Defiance and continues to be so here, having exactly zero f@#$ left to give when it comes to dealing with The Company and its alien obsession.
For Resistance, Wood is teamed up with artist Robert Carey whose style is way more “comic booky” than Jones’ gritty and realistic work on Defiance, adding a new flavor of intensity and kinetic energy to the continuation. Carey clearly has impressive skills when it comes to depicting the highly urban sci-fi environments, spacecraft, and everyone’s favorite drooling space critter, so if Aliens: Resistance #1 is any example of things to come, there should be some really exciting visuals in store in the coming issues.
- Aliens: Defiance’s Tristian Jones may not be doing interior art for Aliens: Resistance, but he does gives us what is easily one of the best Dark Horse Aliens covers of all time.
- At one point in this issue, we see Weyland-Yutani synthetics fire “acid tipped bullets”… which just seem a bit silly. How exactly would one “tip” a bullet with such corrosive material? Would there really be a major benefit to burning someone with a bit of acid after you’ve shot them? And, if anyone has these bullets, wouldn’t they be human and not synthetic? Shouldn’t synthetics have faster, more accurate reflexes - suggesting they can shoot to kill or injury with a inhuman amount of skill… So, why would they need to “burn” someone after putting a bullet between their eyes or even when incapacitating a limb?
- It’s not a huge moment in the comic, but I’m hoping we see some more reasonable, grounded, and likely applications of the xenomorph’s biology if we’re heading that direction in future issues.
- While the spirit of Aliens: Resistance is exhilarating, I did wonder during this issue if there can be any sort of “happy ending” ahead for these characters. As we know from the extended edition of Aliens, Amanda Ripley supposedly dies of old age before her mother ever wakes up after the events on the Nostromo. And, according to the events of Alien 3, The Company is still actively seeking the xenomorphs after both Amanda and Zula must be long gone. Maybe some surprises lie ahead, but there’s a good chance that the end of Resistance will be another reminder that the Alien universe is a harsh, unforgiving place.
FINAL VERDICT: Aliens: Resistance #1 doesn’t give a lot away regarding how the series will compare to other Dark Horse Aliens titles, but given the inclusion of Zula Hendricks and Amanda Ripley (and Wood’s previous work on Aliens: Defiance), this issue is definitely a “must have” for any Aliens fan.
Creative Team: Brian Wood (story), Robert Carey (art), Dan Jackson (colors), Nate Piekos of Blambot (letters), Roberto De La Torre (cover art), Tristan Jones (variant cover art)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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