Graphic Content #25 this week explores Marvel’s sci-fi horror comic Alien #5. We last off with the fourth issue, introducing a fearsome new Alien to this canon who likely originated in the pre-Marvel days. I’ve been pretty hit-or-miss on the comic but we’re going to see if issue #5 can save the whole thing for me.
This is the final shot. Is Marvel’s Alien a title worth reviewing going forward?
Alien #5 Sci-fi Horror Comic Review
Alien #5 picks up where issue #4 left off with series lead Gabriel Cruz discovering his lost son, Danny, who has already fallen prey to the Xenomorphs, now a host. The android Bishop and Danny’s girlfriend, Iris, are with him for a time. Gabriel sends the android and survivor to an escape route, while Gabriel is being hunted by a xenomorph that has a connection to the embryo inside of Danny.
The thing is, this should be a pretty thrilling sort of adventure on paper. There is a lot going on, with characters stuck in a space station, being hunted by Xenomorphs. That is half of the existing Alien franchise storytelling right there. The problem comes with Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s writing. While the functional beats of a story are present, there is just nothing of interest.
It is okay to embrace escape and hunting tropes, but it helps to have characters readers can invest in. That’s just not the case with Marvel’s Alien. The only character I have any connection with as a reader is Bishop, and that is because Bishop has been around since the 1980s. I just have no investment into this, five issues in. Especially when characters are actual idiots.
Even the backstory we get is fairly rote. Gabriel just isn’t a character to build a story around – maybe it’s his military background and conclusion with Weyland-Yutani. Nobody wants to connect to the corporate fascist.
While the art is still not to my liking, feeling overly flat and lifeless, artist Salvador Larroca does get credit for a panel depicting a mass suicide that is pretty effective and does better storytelling than most of the writing in the issue.
But that effective visual storytelling is immediately undercut with a line that attempts to be funny. Furthermore, the still, lifeless style of Larocca, great for piles of corpses, immediately appears more lifeless than scenes of mass suicide. This has been a consistent problem since issue #1 where characters, in an attempt to be beholden to likeness, appear visually flat and uninteresting. It all reads so hollowly.
That even applies to the coloring by Guru e-Fx, where the colors do little to help promote the depth of a scene. Hallway surfaces are rendered virtual flat with single colors despite the heavily blacked shadows that are supposed to generate depth. Characters end up being shadowy, formless mess merging into shadowy, formless backgrounds.
Alien #5: The Bottom Line
With Alien #5 I have determined that this sci-fi horror comic is not for me. I am a big fan of the Alien-franchise to a degree, but I also am more than happy to jettison the stories I just do not like. That is the case here.
I just cannot find much positive to say about Marvel’s efforts with the franchise, especially given nearly two decades of comics that already exist from Dark Horse. While those could be hit-or-miss, they at least had a good start and were novel enough.
I could handle Marvel’s Alien not dropping anything interesting and telling a stock Alien story… if it was good.
Not the case here. I am dropping Marvel’s Alien from my reading list so I do not have to deal with it anymore, like dropping a nuke on LV-426… it’s the only way to be sure. (2 / 5)
See you soon with another Graphic Content horror comic review. Please share your thoughts on the reviews or comics, and let me know what you are currently reading. I’d love to find some recommendations.
Want a Copy of Marvel’s Alien #5?
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 5
Well, you won’t get rid of me that easily… Ha ha, I lied about coming to the end and the afterlife in the Creepy Comics Collages segment, it was just an opportunity for rebirth. Besides, it’s World Collage Day! So having come into another comic book to rework, here we go again…
Creepy Comics Story 9: The Voice (of God or Reason or perhaps an homage to my ex)
“Come to me my children, the voice of God awaits!… Don’t let them escape!” Please beam me up out of this weird comic collage alternate reality. “God I am your hand! Lift me… to your place. I commend my spirit!” I want to go back to dreaming about starfish.
The computer programmer behind the scenes turns to face us and smiles. “Guardians! This is a place of God!… Come to the true voice of God!” “I am everything.” “Come to the voice!” And the horrific AI generated creatures abide by his every coded word.
Just like last night in the — signs posted for Nightmare, No Exit. The deer spirit faun screams in surprise, “Eeek!” “No! I defy you!” She returns to the form of a little girl with arms outspread to the open sky. “Y’know, a day like today makes all the stuff that happened last night seem just like a bad dream!” The dream seems so real…
Somewhere in the city, the computer programmer sits up at night in pensive monologue, “You try to make a difference… But it doesn’t really matter.”
Creepy Comics Story 10: The City (Metropolis becomes self-aware)
This segment is brought to you by Dead Artists and Talking Dinosaurs. No really, wait for it…
Woooooo Uhhhh Wooooooo Uhhhh… Wump! Uff! Wump! Uff! “She belongs to The City!” The Glenn Fry 1985 hit single looms ominously overhead as Metropolis becomes self-aware. “The City… will live!… The City… will breathe!” The City gasps for air, “Got to… breathe!… Got to… Breathe!“
Her breath is the wind… Her eyes are windows. Her heart pumps fluid through buried plumbing… “I’m The City!” Her mind is The City!
And we have a celebrity appearance by Rich Koz “Son of Svengoolie” WFLD 1973: “I take a nap for 10,000 years and look what happens… some-body builds a city!” Kerwyn chimes in, “Geez! Somebody’s been busy!” And we cut out to a scene of Svengoolie standing alongside his coffin.
Well, that’s all folks. Or is it? For now, any way… until I get more comic books… Duh duh DUHHHH…
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 4
Wow, I can’t believe you’ve stayed the course through four whole strange story posts of these creepy comics collages. But this is the final frontier, the last segment, the standing ovation as it were. So here goes…
Creepy Comics Story 7: The Grave (shallow enough for ya?)
“It should take longer, it seems to all of them. Such holy flesh should not give before a blade so easily.” “His brow is growing so cold.” “Yes it would be. He’s dying.”
“My god… I’m not dead.” Put the shovel down. “Life is a no-win situation. Besides… You’re already dead!”
“I’m not dead. I’m not dead!… Oh, Oh my god… I can’t move… What’s happened to me?” Buried alive. Or maybe not.
“Dead?” Perhaps I am actually dead. I was expecting something… I dunno… different.
“I’m not hungry, I’m dead. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, in fact.” At least I’m not a zombie. That seems a small consolation right now though. “My organs are shutting down. It is a relief.”
“Three days have already passed.” We’re just sitting here, rotting. Like Norman Bates’ Mother. At least someone was kind enough to supply a rocking chair. “Oh, one last thing before I go… You’re doing my fucking head in.”
Creepy Comics Story 8: Adrift Afterlife (why you save the best gold coins for the ferryman)
How’d we get here? “I do not stand alone. I am sat in a boat.” “.. to be millions of miles away from any care in the world.” Was that the Ferryman? “Only liberty I know.”
“He does not remember arriving here, or if he has been here before. It is not the island he grew up on, though it feels so very familiar… He has been waiting for the night tides to come in, for they will bring starfish. He has always liked watching them cling to the beach before the current pulls them back into fathoms.”
“And the ocean brings him starfish… Perhaps his father had nothing to do with this place at all.” The ferryman stands on the far shore. It makes no difference now.
“Beneath the ocean, razor-sharp coral grows and plunges towards the surface, sent by a green place that would not like to burn.” “The sand is soft between his toes and he is not ashamed of anything.” The ghosts are here, contentedly it seems.
Thank you for joining us for these creepy comics collage art stories. But here’s where we have to leave it off. Trust me, it’s best that way. Besides I’m out of creepy comics to collage with.
Creepy Comics Collages by Jennifer Weigel, Part 3
We’re ba-ack… Are you ready for the next creepy comics collages graphic story overload? After the last time and the intermission I wasn’t sure I’d see you again, but here we are, together again. You’d almost think we put something in the water – wink.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, the world was going to hell… or was it?
Creepy Comics Story 5: Alien Invasion (A Fist Full of Physics!!!)
“Elsewhere… months… earlier…” “It begins as a flicker pin-point of light getting closer ever closer until it takes form.” The sky is falling, damn you Chicken Little.
“…unconfirmed rumors of extraterrestrials have surfaced this evening following reported sightings in upstate New York earlier today.” There’s the news for you. Always blowing things up to increase viewership ratings.
“Then I would suggest a test immediately.” ‘K Doc, we get it; maybe there’s cause for concern. Guessing these aren’t friendlies based on intel, or that the government pissed them off. “Where’s William Shatner when you really need him?”
“Next morning… City Hall…” “A Fist Full of Physics” Blamm-o! “As if that’s some kind of homage.” It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I was feeling fine but now I’m not so sure. “All of this is on your head.” You can thank the world governments with their shoot first, ask questions later policies for that.
“The act was deplorable. It’s ramifications were permanent.” Doc looks unamused. “And the doctor drones on in his cold monotone… ‘Then we all die.’”
Creepy Comics Story 6: Werewolves (Londoners, eat your hearts out)
“Fables Werewolves… no one can hear you howl.” So now we’re elbow-deep in lycanthropy? This story just keeps getting weirder and weirder…
“… I feel so… disoriented… is this vertigo?” No, you wouldn’t be so lucky. Once bitten, twice shy. It’s The Change. Prepare yourself for the transformation.
“What now?” Enough with the damned interruptions already, can’t you see I’m at work?!
“Shall we start a war?”
“No! No! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! No!“
“I know one thing.” “Never will you suffer the indignity of this animal’s touch again.” The wolf seems somewhat offended by that statement. No really. And probably rightly so.
“Maybe it’s just an excuse, a fucking cop-out for when we inevitably fuck-up our lives and hurt people… We’re not cursed, we’re rotten, or mad or…”
“I don’t deserve this!” he howls. Stop blaming the werewolves for your own human indecencies. Teacups get broken and the London werewolves get angry.
Thank you for going all in with us over this series, there’s… one… more… final… huzzah… In the meantime, check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.