Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artwork: Julius Ohta
Colours: Yen Nitro
Release Date: 7th September 2022
Beginning with a truly terrifying insight into the opening hours of a Xenomorph outbreak on the supposedly idyllic planet Tobler-9, Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s script for this re-launched “express elevator to Hell” definitely will hold its readers’ attention for the comic’s first few pages. However, once the spotlight moves away from the old Weyland-Yutani red site and the palpable terror of its residents as they desperately attempt to board the metropolis’ last turbo-train, this first issue arguably becomes a bit too contrived for its own good; “Congress practically begged me to reinstate the Synth teams, starting with you. One last mission.”
Indeed, despite the plot momentarily moving across to a gratuitously bloody assault upon a party of super-powerful synths hiding out on Europa-5 by a so-called crack team of human governmental operatives, a good deal of the Eisner Award-nominee’s narrative feels padded out by numerous textless panels of the heavenly world’s breath-taking landscapes, or an incredibly word-heavy argument between Lieutenant General George March, Freyja and the rest of the female android’s “family”.
Admittedly, much of what the military officer has to say is absolutely crucial to establishing both the parameters of Steel Team’s final assignment, as well as the renegade robots’ motivations for once again agreeing to work for the duplicitous United Systems. However, it’s a shame that Johnson couldn’t have relied upon another dynamic flashback sequence depicting the grisly fall of Weyland-Yutani’s covert bioweapons laboratory and its entirely innocent civilian population, rather than simply having the veteran soldier grimly stare down his former comrades-in-arms and mechanically state that they need to retrieve some biotechnology on a hostile planet in order to save humanity.
Cleverly chucking a bucketful of gore over this twenty-page periodical’s penned proceedings is artist Julius Ohta, whose ability to prodigiously pencil a person or two being horrifically eviscerated by a deadly Xenomorph clearly knows no bounds. The Brazilian illustrator also does a good job of imbuing the various synthetics with some notable individualism, such as Freyja’s evident air of authority over Nora, Seth and Astrid, as well as Eli’s obvious displeasure at having to leave “some of them alive for interrogation.”
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]