• Aliens Defiance #8

    Aliens Defiance #8
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: December 28th, 2016.
    Written by: Brian Wood
    Illustrated by: Tony Brescini
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    “AFTER THE TRAUMATIC EVENTS OF THE PREVIOUS ISSUE, THE CREW FIGHT A NEW BATTLE ON TWO FRONTS: first, maintaining critical ship systems as everything starts to fail, and second, fighting the creeping sense of fear and panic that haunts even their dreams.”

    Zula wakes up from a deep sleep when the ship’s computer alerts her to an environmental issue that needs her attention. The Europa, their ship, has been badly damaged since turning one of its storage bays into a cryo unit to keep the alien that was onboard safely detained. Unfortunately this has resulted in a toxic leak that they can’t identify.

    Davis checks out the room to make sure its contents are still properly frozen, and they are, while Hollis sits in an oxygen tent unconscious, recovering from the xenomporph abortion she performed on herself to get the alien spawn out of her stomach. Zula goes back to sleep and Davis heads outside the ship to see what he can do about taking care of some necessary repairs.

    From there, Zula converses with her doctor, Yang, who is trying to convince her to end this mission and come back. She tells her she can smooth things over with Weyland-Yutani, they’ll give anything to get their hands on the contents of the Europa’s cryo chamber. It’s a ‘get out of jail free’ card that she can play against the Marines, those same Marines who now see her as a defector of sorts. As she decides to stroll down through the ship to try and find the leak, she passes a large window just in time to see a handful of aliens literally floating past the ship – and then we flashback to see how Zula became a Marine in the first place.

    Zula doesn’t give up easily, and thankfully neither does Davis… because that bay he’s working in is wide open and there are bugs out there…

    This issue is important for a few reasons, none of which really involve the action or horror elements that typically make this book such an entertaining read. No, this issue is concerned primarily with the human element, in developing the characters, and it does that very well. We not only learn some valuable information about Zula’s background but we also get feeling for why she’s so strong willed and willing risk everything for this cause. Her conversations with Yang and with Hollis help to flesh her out and make her a more interesting and believable character. Meanwhile, as Davis starts writing more and more code for himself, he’s becoming closer to human than ever before and as this story is playing out, we’re witnessing the evolution of a synthetic character – which is interesting in and of itself even outside of the events that take place. Great work on Brian Wood’s part, this series has been really strong right from the start but he’s managing to take an Aliens story in some enjoyable unexpected directions.

    Tony Brescini handles the art chores on this issue, his first time working on the series. His style is somewhat sketchy and his take on the character, Hendricks in particular, differs a bit from what we’ve seen in the seven issues prior. That’s not a bad thing, however, as his art is really strong. There’s lots of nice detail here and those panels showing the aliens sort of lazily drifting outside the ship are more than a little bit eerie. Dan Jackson’s work in the coloring department is as strong as ever and definitely worth noting as an important part of this series’ look. Stephanie Hans provides a nice painted cover piece.