Title: Alien – Revival
Writer(s): Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art: Salvador Larroca
Colors: Guru-eFX (Jochen Weltjens)
Lettering: Clayton Cowles
Cover Art: Marc Aspinall
Revival collects Issues 7 to 12 and is set two years after the events of Bloodlines. The collection also features Annual #1 which is a side story about Gabriel Cruz set in 2193, about seven years before the events on Epsilon Station.
Revival does not directly tie into Bloodlines. It features a new set of characters and is set on the outer-rim planet Euridice.
Jane is the leader of a group of colonists on said planet. This planet belongs to the United Americas (UA) which is also at odds with Weyland-Yutani. The colonists have been running terraforming operations and building their homes, turning Euridice into a paradise.
The colonists practice a religion that shuns excessive technology and are referred to as “Spinners”, a reference to the spinning wheel. Given the beliefs mentioned throughout, this presumably symbolizes simple living, nature and natural cycles. They also call on a vague matriarchal figure “Mother”.
We have seen Alien stories set on ships, a yet-to-be-terraformed planet and a space station, so an inhabited planet is expected. I know the original sequel to Aliens published by Dark Horse in 1988, aptly titled Outbreak, involves xenomorphs on Earth. But there is no containing xenomorphs and the scale of such an infestation is difficult to draw in the audience.
As such, an idyllic planet without a large population but hinted to be bigger than Hadley’s Hope is ideal. It’s totally plausible. Also, simple folk on a nice planet evokes more sympathy and it serves to contrast the monster that is the Alien.
So, a UA ship is meant to visit Euridice but somehow has a xenomorph onboard which then causes the ship to crash on the planet. Jane and her people get to the crash site to rescue any survivors and put out the fire. She actually sees a full-grown Alien but no one else does and no one believes her… until people start disappearing.
In this respect, the plot is simple: Jane and her people try to survive and defend the home they have worked so hard to build. Obviously, there are themes of life, death and humanity’s attempted control of nature. The colonists, on the one hand, have transformed the planet into paradise and the Alien is a bioweapon that takes over any place they come across. Jane also has a terminal condition.
It is not a bad story. It probably resembles a Predator-type story. Although it obviously is survival-horror, the writer doesn’t push that aspect of it. The use of suspense and action sequences is very measured. It’s brutal when it happens but it thankfully is not pointless splatter-gore. As expected, each issue typically has one dramatic act of violence and one revelation. The pacing is somewhat quick but steady, almost as if on autopilot. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s expected with a comic that has a set page-count.
A somewhat fresh angle is that Euridice is a UA endeavor so it is from their viewpoint the actions of Weyland-Yutani are seen, and the little bit of politics the writer brings into the story is mildly interesting. If anything, more of that would add to the worldbuilding.
As in Bloodlines, the art by Larroca and coloring by Guru-eFX are excellent. The colors and shading are very refined, the work really conveys the lighting and atmosphere.
The only complaint is that there is no follow-up to the surviving characters and concluding events of Bloodlines. Perhaps that is why Annual #1 is included, even though it is set seven years before.
In that side story, Gabriel Cruz and his team are sent to pacify Nishimura Station that has been, from Weyland-Yutani’s point of view, taken over by terrorists. The Company’s intent is to use an android to deliver a xenomorph to the station and then observe it as part of the research.
Of course, Cruz’s ship is attacked and disabled. The android is forced to alter the mission and release the xenomorph on the ship instead. The rest is basically Cruz trying to survive. On the surface, the plot resembles the films, but the way it builds is different given the way it opens. It is not a bad side story. At least it shows a little more about Cruz’s illustrious career at the Company.
Revival is a good second part to Bloodlines as long as one doesn’t mind that it is a different setting with different characters.
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