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Comics Review: Alien – Icarus

Title: Alien – Icarus

Writer(s): Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Art: Julius Ohta

Colors: Yen Nitro

Lettering: Clayton Cowles

Cover Art: Björn Barends

Publisher: Marvel

Icarus collects Issues 1 to 6 of Alien (2022) and is set in 2217, about fifteen years after the events of Revival.

Alien – Icarus

Icarus does not directly tie into Bloodlines and Revival. It features a new set of characters.

Europa-5 is home to five synths who have deserted. They were once part of the “Steel Team”, a special forces squad. They obviously distrust humans.

One day, the United Systems military arrive to recruit them. Demeter-2, an agricultural center on which 25 colonies depend, has suffered a nuclear disaster. The mission is to retrieve the Alien organism from Tobler-9, a world where Weyland-Yutani once conducted their genetic engineering experiments, so that humanity can hopefully continue living on Demeter-2 since they cannot afford to have that world collapse.

The synths led by Freyja reluctantly agree given the promise of full citizenship.

The strength of these three stories is that Johnson tries to write in the spirit of an Alien story but also tries to have original elements. For example, Bloodlines is set on a space station, Revival is set on an idyllic planet with ordinary folk, and none of the characters in these three texts are outright clone characters of Ripley or Hicks.

Although it is interesting to have synths as main characters, it is difficult to relate to them knowing they are synths. They want freedom and… and so does everyone else. The audience may find Bishop likable as a character (at least the good version) because he’s a little weird but is a good guy, whereas the audience knows very little about these five.

Icarus is more action than horror which is fine in itself except it relies too much on splatter gore. Some may say the same about Revival but there it served to enhance the suspense and horror because the viewpoint characters are ordinary terraformer-colonists who don’t know what is happening. In Icarus, this almost comes across as cheap.

Of course, when Freyja’s team land on Tobler-9, they find human survivors living on that wasteland so there is a little bit of intrigue there. Whilst the premise is straightforward and the pacing of Icarus is good, there is simply not enough plot.

Some key elements just haven’t been developed even if these three texts are not supposed to directly tie into each other. Bloodlines introduced a new Alien variant as well as some psychological elements/imagery. Icarus makes use of the latter but there is no exploration of it, and there is so much potential there.

The art by Julius Ohta and the coloring by Yen Nitro are not bad but lack the refinement of Bloodlines and Revival. The linework in Icarus is too thick and too rough. This gives the work a certain vigor and may work well if it is black and white, but not so much when it is in color. And the colors in Icarus lack the atmosphere conveyed in the previous two volumes.

As is common in horror, there is at least one point left open at the conclusion. This is fine but subsequent stories (if there are any) should at least partly address these and Icarus essentially does not do so for Bloodlines and Revival. (Perhaps future installments still might.) Overall, it is not an outright bad story. It has good pacing and it has action if nothing else, but it lacks the more refined execution of the previous two volumes.


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