Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artwork: Julius Ohta
Colours: Yen Nitro
Release Date: 19th October 2022
Whilst there’s undoubtedly plenty of tense, high-octane fuelled action on show within issue two of Marvel’s Alien, it’s doubtful many of the science fiction horror franchise’s fans will feel that Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s latest pack of protagonists were ever in any real danger. Indeed, even when Seth is violently speared straight through the torso from behind by a Xenomorph Queen’s pointed tail, the android essentially shrugs off the gaping chest wound so as to escape “the top-secret wing of the storied Bioweapons Division” with the rest of his team-mates; “Yeah… No worries. Plenty of time left for Astrid’s Ruins of Civilization tour.”
Frustratingly, much of this lack of threat is due to the Eisner-nominated writer’s build-up in which he pens the “legendary, unkillable Synthetic Special Operations team” as being so incredibly formidable that nothing organic ever tangled with them and walked away. Coupled with the quintet’s evident super-human abilities to ‘jump tall buildings with a single bound’, converse with one another ‘telepathically’ over a silent network and later, even rip-off the head of the alien infestation’s ruling sovereign with their bare hands, and it’s debatably difficult to believe anything this side of a nuclear bombardment will actually threaten Steel Team in any permanent way.
To make matters worse however, with perhaps the notable exception of Seth, who at least appears willing to be a little grateful to Mankind for creating him, none of this twenty-page periodical’s leading cast are likeable. In fact, quite the contrary with the antagonistic Eli proving particularly disagreeable due to his blinding hatred of all things human, and the ingrate’s egotistical belief that his superior mechanically enhanced might makes his opinions right over everyone else. Of course, having previously been played for a fool by General March and Weyland-Yutani it’s understandable that the robot has a ‘beef’ with those who betrayed him. But such is the soldier’s hateful demure that some readers will surely be hoping he’s the first of the squad to meet a gory demise.
Perhaps slightly less disappointing than its writing is this book’s artwork by Julius Ohta. The “fresh young talent from Brazil with a dynamic, energetic and emotive style” is clearly a proficient penciller, especially when sketching the Gearheads’ exploration of Tobler-9’s dilapidated surface during this comic’s early stages. Yet, the artist’s highly exaggerated facial expressions persistently jar with the senses, making Freyja’s crew repeatedly lurch from barely repressed rage to open-mouthed, wide-eyed terror within the space of a frame or two.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]