Alien #2 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Declan Shalvey, art by Andrea Broccardo, colors by Tríona Farrell and letters by Clayton Cowles. The Xenomorphs that were under the ice are beginning to thaw out and make their way out of the frozen lake.
The first issue of the horror comic was all about the pressure and the build-up. Waiting for the danger to come, the knot in the stomach will always hit from the first sight of a Xenomorph. But now we have seen them, it is just time for the descent into madness.
What makes this incarnation of the series especially creepy is the location, and the isolation of the harsh landscape. It’s already evident that there’s nowhere to go, and what little options there are is fading fast. Not just that, but there is also an absolutely enormous amount of Xenomorphs. The group is scattered at the moment, with the main family of the book split up. Only a couple of the iconic monsters make their real presence known and already cause carnage. The pace and the action aren’t frantic, but that unrelenting sense of oncoming death makes them horrifying.
The characters and the dialogue don’t carry so much weight in Alien #2. That is due to how physical this issue is, with Shalvey choosing to focus on the action. But it is interesting to see how the fear is written into the dialogue. Whilst sometimes there are loud screams due to the barbaric nature of the violence, much of the time Shalvey chooses to use quiet instead. It can take longer for what’s happening to sink in. The family itself isn’t shown much in this chapter as the outbreak of Xenomorphs takes priority, but being so separated and the drama in this issue highlights the danger they are in.
This is an issue that leans on the art heavily, with the devastation starting to be unleashed. The Xenomorphs are awesome, huge, and imposing with a ridiculous amount of detail etched over their carapaces. The detail is phenomenal on every level and in every panel. The facial expressions are terrific. When the destruction and the gore start being unleashed, you can tell it is when Broccardo starts having fun. There’s an element of toying with readers involved. There are times when there’s just blood splatter, avoiding the real damage or hiding it off-panel. But then there are moments where you get a front-row seat to the carnage. This is a comic that could tell its story without any dialogue whatsoever due to the narrative excellence of the art.
The colors could be considered simple, but that belies their effectiveness. There is a lot of white and grey, but that is to instill a cold atmosphere that sends a chill whilst reading. We all know a reason why red is brought onto the page. The lettering is slightly too small but there are still no problems with reading the word balloons.
Alien #2 thaws its monsters out of the ice. The previous issue showed all of the traps that the characters were walking in, this chapter shows them being sprung. The gradual descent into a massacre is horrifying and awe-inspiring, with classic set pieces of the Alien franchise making a return. And with so many Xenomorphs, everything just seems so much bigger.
Alien #2 (2023)
Alien #2 thaws its monsters out of the ice and, with so many Xenomorphs, everything seems so much bigger.