Written by: Brain Wood
Art by: Riccardo Burchielli
Publisher: Dark Horse
I’m not sure what kind of publishing schedule Aliens: Defiance is on, but the last issue came out in May. It’s August. Issue #3 was a nice surprise then, like finding a ten-dollar bill in an old pair of pants you’re about to throw away, and I’m very thankful this story is simple. If there were more than Zara and Davis, I’d be completely lost.
The fact of the matter is though, if there were more to this story than Zara, Davis, and the androids-gone-rogue mission of destroying Xenomorphs, we’d be the worse for it. This story works because of its scope.
We begin the issue with some character interactions/development. Zara has gained some respect thanks to her prowess in the last issue, but she’s still injured. Instead of scorn though, Davis is playing the part of physical therapist. It’s a nice moment, one that shows us a very human side of Davis while also letting us relax as readers. Last issue held a lot of violence/tension.
The peaceful discourse is then interrupted by a mutiny.
What Issue #3 does best is play up the fact that Zara’s shipmates are robots. Davis might be as human as a robot can get, but he’s still a robot. He’s still bound by the laws of his programming, and in the case of his crew, that programming says: Kill the human, capture Xenomorphs, and return to Earth.
Aliens: Defiance #3 is an Alien comic with zero Xenomorphs and all the terrifying, against-the-odds action we’ve come to love as fans. If you’ve played Alien: Isolation, you’ll be getting some flashbacks. The scenes are well crafted, and because we’ve spent time getting to know our heroes, all of the bangs, explosions, and general mayhem hold the same kind of weight as a Xenomorph attack.
Issue #3 sees us with a new artist, but I could hardly tell (partly because I haven’t looked at an Aliens: Defiance comic in over two months). The same basic premise of, “have fun with bright colors” still applies to this series, and I’m still a fan. Tracer rounds light up panels, giving everything a bright pop. Normally we’d be drowning in greys and browns, but here there’s nothing but reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s a wonderful change of pace from your typical Xenomorph grit.
Of course, in typical Xenomorph grit, there is also a lot of good blacks too. You can’t have Aliens without some deep shadows and the lurking danger of what comes with those.
From the get-go, Aliens: Defiance was a strong, worthy entry into the Alien universe. Issue #3 continues that. There’s a lot to enjoy here, and it’s a shame we’ll probably have to wait two or three months for the next issue.