Title: Alien – Bloodlines
Writer(s): Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Guru-eFX (Jochen Weltjens)
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Cover Art: Lee In-hyuk
Set in 2200—about twenty-one years after the incident at Hadley’s Hope on LV-426 as seen in the film Aliens—this story follows Gabriel Cruz, a security veteran for the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.
The story opens with Cruz retiring as security chief of Epsilon Orbital R&D Station. He returns to Earth and tries to reconcile with his estranged son Danny, who is part of a group that aims to expose Weyland-Yutani’s secret activities. When they infiltrate Epsilon station, they discover the Company’s xenomorph research and, of course, mayhem ensues.
Epsilon station suffers a systems failure so that it will eventually fall out of orbit and burn up in the atmosphere. The Company gives Cruz a chance to return to Epsilon in order to collect a viable xenomorph sample and possibly save Danny.
Bloodlines collects Issues 1 to 6 at a total of about 120 pages, and it is consistent to the spirit of an Alien story: there is action, some suspense, gore, a Bishop-model android, and it expands on Weyland-Yutani’s desire to exploit the xenomorph.
The plotting is very measured in the sense that it doesn’t push any particular element; it is not exclusively a shoot ’em up or a gore-fest or a game of hide-and-seek. It aims to be balanced. Although it could be stronger in one respect or another, it avoids the trap of trying too hard (and end up just being cheesy).
It also avoids trying to be too innovative but does give a little more than what the films have shown. As with any work of fiction, one needs enough mystery to be intriguing but also give enough to satisfy the audience. This gets progressively harder with any subsequent work since what is mysterious in the first piece needs to be at least partially explained by the end and therefore ceases to be mysterious in the second piece and so on, but Bloodlines handles this well.
As already mentioned, the audience is exposed to a little more of the Company’s research. It also touches on the psychological impact when the xenomorph’s implanted in the individual, this being shown from Cruz’s perspective due to his previous encounter with xenomorphs. And as suggested by the title, there is another form of the xenomorph. And no, it is not a Predalien or a Dog Alien.
Setting the story on a space station is also a little different from the first three films, presumably taking that idea from William Gibson’s unproduced Alien 3 script. (By the way, the script and the comic are worth a read.) Even though the fourth film Alien Resurrection is set on a ship, the style and therefore feel are very different. Bloodlines is set in the same era as Aliens and it feels that way.
The art by Larroca and coloring by Guru-eFX obviously contribute to that. Their work is excellent. There may be a few panels in which the composition itself can make the action clearer, but it is otherwise difficult to find any substantial fault. The linework is fine and clean. The coloring makes excellent use of shadows and highlights, the contrast really sets that dark and ominous tone and, like the cover art, sometimes really jumps out of the page.
Overall, it is a well-produced comic. In terms of storytelling, it is not particularly strong in any respect but that is not a bad thing. It is sufficiently interesting and the pacing is generally good. Some may find it a little slow in the opening act but that is not a problem. Once it picks up, it is a little too fast, probably trying to fit within the usual page-count of an issue. Given the overall length, it is probably a little short for a feature-length film but, if developed further, would have the potential to be a decent film way better than the films produced since Aliens in 1986.
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