REVIEW: ‘Alien,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Alien #1 — But Why Tho

Alien #1 is part of a new series published by Marvel, written by Declan Shalvey, art by Andrea Broccardo, colors by Triona Farrell, and letters by Clayton Cowles. On a research base on top of a frozen lake, a family starts drilling into the ice. But underneath the ice is something that you do not want to thaw out.

This first issue is all about tension and trepidation. For the reader, Shalvey very quickly lets us know what is under the ice, and that it is only a matter of time for us. But for the characters, that takes a lot longer. And as other signature tropes and motifs of the Alien universe begin to appear, it is like the pieces are being put into place. Weyland-Utani makes their presence known in the second half of the comic, filling the base with cannon fodder. There are vents and a creepy sci-fi base. This whole issue just raises the suspense, not yet willing to release any of it.

There are a great set of characters being introduced with Alien #1, initially small from this first issue. At the core of it is this family of three: pregnant mother, father, and daughter. As soon as one of the frozen discoveries is brought back to the base, that unit begins to be tested. The father is the sensible one in the horror story, which obviously means no one listens to him. The mother is looking for discovery and is evidently the leader of the remote household. Then there is the daughter, an adventurous little figure who is able to slip through small gaps. This is a clear piece of foreshadowing as to what she will be forced to do further in this series, already showing off some of it in the premiere chapter. The human antagonist is a smug instigator. You instantly long for his brutal demise.

The art is really good. Some of the detailing is ridiculous and immaculate, like on the fur lining of the coats the family wears outside. Even more so with regard to the hair of the characters and how it reacts to the elements. Broccardo designs the family members in a way to highlight how normal they are, whilst also presenting them with distinct and interesting looks. There are some subtle references to previous incarnations of the Alien franchise and other more blatant ones. There isn’t much real, fast-paced action, but they are terrific explosions of rage and emotion. Then there are the flagship parts of the franchise, and just small little glimpses are enough to show how phenomenal they are.

There is a lot of vibrancy and energy in the colors. The main characters are really colorful and diverse in tones, with some amazing patterns on their clothing. The mother’s bright orange dungarees are perhaps the highlight of the colors. Elsewhere, the palette can be monochromatic. But it increases the menace of the enemy and the desolation of their location. The lettering is a font that I found slightly too small, but it isn’t overly hard to read.

Alien #1 captures everything that the franchise uses to be iconic. Personally, I think that the monsters in this world are the greatest designs in horror and perhaps in fiction. But it isn’t just that. Creators have used isolation, dead planets, and cold, inhuman spaceships to chill audiences to the bone for decades, and that resurfaces here. But there are humans included too, instantly displaying personality and it is hard not to get attached quickly. This is just a precursor to what is about to be a phenomenal second issue.

Alien #1 is available where comics are sold.

Alien #1 (2023)


Alien #1 captures everything that the franchise uses to be iconic.

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