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‘Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay #2’ – Advance Comic Book Review (The Survivors Would Envy the Dead)

This week marks the release of the second issue of Dark Horse Comics’ Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay, a comic book adaptation of William Gibson’s unused stab at the third film in the Alien franchise. Featuring a script and artwork from Johnnie Christmas and colors from Tamra Bonvillain, the second issue of this unusual adaptation lights a fuse to the powder keg that really can only eventually reach its inevitable and disastrous end. And, if the Alien franchise has taught fans anything, it’s the fact that disaster always multiplies when xenomorphs are in the mix.


Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay #2 continues to lay out the aftermath of the Colonial Marine mission to the colony located on LV-426 (depicted in the feature film, Aliens). With temporary access to the top half of the android known as Bishop, the Union of Progressive Peoples are now fully aware of the xenomorph species, of Weyland-Yutani’s attempts to acquire the creatures for their own use, and the aliens’ potential military applications. U.P.P. quickly moves forward with its own plans to weaponize the deadly beasts, while “The Company” makes use of its access to the marine spacecraft known as the Sulaco and the battle-scarred Corporal Hicks, with a continued eye towards doing the same as their rival. It very quickly becomes quite clear that no matter which group of humanity has access to the xenomorphs, it will end very badly for us all.

The second issue of Alien 3 is the windup for a punch that is most certainly coming in the upcoming issues. There are a lot of moving chess pieces in Christmas’ script – a newly hatched xenomorph aboard the Sulaco, U.P.P.’s aggressive reaction behind the scenes to the knowledge found in Bishop’s “head” and their political (and *polite*) public posturing, and the “positioning” of Newt, Hicks, and Ripley by Weyland-Yutani corporation. Longtime Aliens fans will be sure to enjoy even more time with some of their favorite characters from director James Cameron’s film (especially given that they “escape” their sudden and shocking deaths from David Fincher’s third film), and Christmas does an excellent job of continuing the fascinating “Cold War arms race” parallels taking place between U.P.P. and Weyland-Yutani over the xenomorph and its military applications. The creatures falling into the hands of a corporate bio-weapons division has been a consistent threat throughout the Aliens franchise, and Christmas’ and Gibson’s story has dropped the speculation, prepared to show readers exactly where human greed will lead us in the world of Alien. As Nikita Khrushchev once said of nuclear war, “The survivors would envy the dead.” It seems the quote would aptly apply to humanity’s disastrous (yet fictional) quest to wield the xenomorph as a weapon.

Miscellaneous Notes:

– I’d be remiss to not mention Christmas’ amazing cover art for this issue, featuring the prone image of the android Bishop, still in the same condition since the Queen Alien ripped him in two. White android internal fluid trails down his face from his eyes and nose, conjuring images of both tears and blood. Bishop is the only figure we see in a pale, yellowish/cream-colored background, and his eyes are rolled back into his head while his mouth is open in a silent scream of protest. It’s a simplistic and artful cover that unsettlingly communicates the tragedy of the Bishop character in this story and how he’s being used as an unwilling tool in humanity’s rush towards their own destruction.

– Speaking of great art, this issue features one of the most vicious-looking chestburster images ever put to page in an Aliens comic book. Kudos, Mr. Christmas!

Final Verdict: While this issue may be less action packed than the last, Aliens fans have always been interested in more than just spectacle in their stories. In this way, Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay #2 is exactly what fans desire, giving readers a chance to reunite with Hicks and Newt while “The Company” and its rival ratchet up detailed plans and corporate/political maneuvering that the xenomorphs will be only too happy to exploit in the coming issues.

Creative Team: William Gibson (story), Johnnie Christmas (adaptation script and art), Tamra Bonvillain (color art), Nate Paikos of Blambot (lettering), Johnnie Christmas with Tamra Bonvillain (cover), James Harren (variant cover)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.

Bryant Dillon, Fanbase Press President


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