• Aliens Defiance #6



    Aliens Defiance #6
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: October 26th, 2016.
    Written by: Brian Wood
    Illustrated by: Tristan Jones
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    “WHILE LOOKING FOR SURVIVORS in an Alien-infested fueling depot, ZULA HENDRICKS and Davis discover a lone medical officer, Dr. Hollis, hiding in the bowels of the station. Her research skills and firsthand knowledge of the xenomorph scourge are invaluable to the mission, but the arrival of a heavily armed squad of Colonial Marines threatens to cut things short.”

    This issue opens with a firefight, a squad of Marines do their best to push back a horde of aliens. There are casualties on both sides. Overtop of this scene Zula’s narration confirms what we already know – she and the Davis units were sent to the Europa for one reason: bring back a sample of the alien to headquarters. It was all planned – she knows that even Dr. Yang was in on this, a way to get Zula to tell Weyland-Yutani where to send the drop ship. She also knows that they put getting the alien samples over her life, so she feels no sympathy. Now she’s stuck on this ship between the Marines and the aliens. A rock and a hard place.

    Zula, Hollis and Davis 01 are trying to get away from all of this. They hear the explosions and know that they won’t be able to move faster than the bugs. When Hollis initiates a containment protocol on the ship’s computer, doors start closing around them and they realize they’re quickly running out of time. Their plan is to get back to the Europa, disable the Marines’ ship and leave them to their fate. Zula’s back injury prevents her from running as fast as the others. Hollis helps her out with a pain blocker but her kindness is rewarded with cruelty when one of the blast doors closes before she can get to the other side. She’s left alone on the other side and there are facehuggers moving in. Davis 01 and Zula try to override the door – it works, and just in time.

    When things calm down Zula fills Hollis in on what Weyland-Yutani is really up to – weaponizing the aliens for profit. Davis 01 figures since they need a live sample to do that and since the aliens are making short work of the Marines, it isn’t going to happen, but then Hollis fills them in on something. Weyland-Yutani doesn’t need a live sample, they have a process that allows them to regenerate necrotic tissue. All the company needs to make this work is a ‘piece’ of an alien. They can’t let those Marines return to Earth…

    Easily the most intense of the six issues published so far, this one balances action and plot development perfectly. The scenes where the Marines go into the station after the aliens are ferocious and powerfully violent. They take up a lot of this issue, but there’s more to it than that – clearly Zula is in a bad spot here, having to decide what to do to stop the Marines, her own kind, from finishing their mission. She knows that the safety of the Earth is at stake here and knows she’s got the greater good in mind, but it’s still a decision no soldier would ever want to make. On top of that her injuries come into play, and there’s some interesting character development with both Hollis and Davis 01 that will clearly come into play in the coming issues. Brian Wood’s writing conveys all of this in a style that is both complex and accessible at the same time. It’s a pretty gripping read, entertaining and smart the way good sci-fi should be.

    Tristan Jones’ artwork continues to impress, and again that opening assault scene really stands out. There’s loads of detail in ever panel, not just on the humans and aliens but in the backgrounds as well. Combined with Dan Jackson’s coloring work and Nate Pieko’s lettering, the visuals in this book are pretty much perfect, capturing the right sort of futuristic industrial look without short shifting the characters that populate these surroundings.