Ripley And Hendricks Return In Aliens: Rescue #1

by Brendan M. Allen

Following the events of Aliens: Resistance, Alec Brand, the colonist rescued by Amanda Ripley and Zula Hendricks, has grown up into an elite Colonial Marine. A secret mission brings him back to the alien-infested moon where he was rescued . . . and face to face with the past. Written by Brian Wood of Aliens: Defiance and Aliens: Resistance. Find out the fate of Amanda Ripley after Aliens: Resistance. Zula Hendricks and Alec Brand return!

Aliens: Rescue #1 is the opener to the third (final?) series in Brian Wood’s contribution to the Dark Horse Comics Aliens mythos. You remember Alec Brand from the last series. He’s the kid Zula and  new Ripley saved from xenomorphs in Resistance. Alec’s all grown, and as a tribute to the women who saved him, has joined the Colonial Marines. In a sequence that’s all too familiar in the xeno-verse, Alec’s getting grilled about events past by a ranking officer, who’s not really forthcoming about the purpose of the meeting.

Wood is obviously comfortable enough with Aliens by this point, having written both the Defiance and Resistance minis that brought us here. We get a little exposition in the beginning, in the form of that interrogation, but it’s mostly there to bring new readers in, since not much new ground is covered in those couple pages. The kid’ll have boots on the ground and be blasting “bugs” soon enough, but this chapter is a pretty standard first issue, setting the scene, and introducing a few new faces. 

I’m not entirely sold on the art yet, unfortunately. The trouble, for me, is that I started this journey with Tristan Jones back in Defiance. Jones brought tight, claustrophobic set pieces, a brand new terrifying xenomorph design, compelling battles, and insane backgrounds. 

I’m just not finding that same visual tension in the pencils by Kieron McKeown and inks by JL Straw.  It’s not bad, by any means. Some of it’s actually pretty terrific. There are some consistency issues with character design and a few glitches with anatomy and ambulation, but my major issue is it just isn’t dark or gritty enough. Everything looks too clean and crisp for Aliens.

Aliens: Rescue #1 is a reasonable start to this new arc. While Defiance, Resistance, and Rescue are obviously meant to be taken as a set, Wood provides enough info in this first chapter to bring in new readers without alienating long time readers. The art is a little distracting at first. I would have liked to see more continuity on the visual side from the previous arcs, but I hope this new style will grow on me.

Aliens: Rescue #1, Dark Horse Comics, released 24 July 2019. Story by Brian Wood, pencils by Kieron McKeown, inks by JL Straw, color by Dan Jackson, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot, cover by Roberto De La Torre.

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