Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Release Date: 2nd March 2022
Introducing a “new terrifying type of Xenomorph” following the impregnation of multiple rodent-sized Tubers, Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s attempt to stamp his own creative mark upon the science fiction/horror franchise likely pleased the vast majority of this twenty-page periodical’s audience. For whilst the multi-limbed mass of teeth don’t actually make an appearance until the terrifying conclusion of this issue, once they do emerge – having literally burrowed their way out of several hapless settlers’ bodies – the swarming creatures arguably appear to be every bit as formidable a foe as their much larger extra-terrestrial brethren.
Happily, the same prodigious penmanship can also be found in Johnson’s presentation of a deserted mining facility which the surviving Spinners initially believe could be their sanctuary from the Alien infestation. Devoid of all signs of life, with numerous partially-derelict buildings gruesomely sprayed with blood splatters, this harrowing location immediately conjures up just the sort of scary sufferings which befell Alpha Station, and makes it abundantly clear that Jane’s group will find no safety amongst its gory ruins; “There’s no way anybody’s alive in there. If you do this, you’ll die for nothing.”
Enthrallingly though, the sudden surprise betrayal by Simon in order to unsuccessfully rescue a woman he’s never even met forces the famished farmers to not only enter the dilapidated site’s mine, but actually compels them to rush down its mist-filled shafts at breakneck speed. This moment of utter madness obviously helps Johnson ensure that this book’s dwindling cast commit themselves to a course of action completely against their better judgement. However, it also provides an intriguing insight into the fragile mentality of the radio operator who suddenly ‘believes’ a female voice on the end of a wireless is worth dying for – even when he neither knows what she looks like or whether she’s even still alive.
Adding plenty of stomach-tightening tension to this publication’s proceedings is the artwork of Salvador Larroca, which generates a palpable sense of claustrophobia during the scenes set deep beneath the world’s surface. In addition, the Spanish artist’s attention to detail at the start of this comic, when Jane unsuspectingly encounters the corpses of ‘infected’ Tubulars amongst the area’s jungle-like undergrowth, provides a chilling visual warning to the reader as to the potential shocks to come.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]