• Aliens Defiance #12

    Aliens Defiance #12
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: June 21st, 2017.
    Written by: Brian Wood
    Illustrated by: Eduardo Francisco
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    “ON EARTH AND IN WEYLAND-YUTANI CUSTODY, Davis, Dr. Hollis, and Private Zula Hendricks face very different fates. But the xenomorphic threat still exists, so the mission hasn’t ended yet...”

    When this issue opens, Hollis is running down a corridor. Zula is on the other side of a locked door watching through the window. She can’t get out and help, all she can do is watch in terror as her friend is overrun and then overtaken by a horde of facehuggers. Fade to black as Hollis falls through space and then wakes up from what we already knew was a nightmare.

    In the real world she consults with the surgeons who have been sent by Weyland-Yutani to ‘take care’ of her. Even though Zula disobeyed direct orders and disposed of the alien spawn that was gestating inside Hollis, the doctors figure that there’s probably still some alien biomatter left inside of her. They intend to remove it. The surgeons are all wearing masks so when the room fills up with knockout gas, they’re fine. Hollis, however, falls unconscious.

    Elsewhere, Zula is working out on a treadmill. She has been recovering from her injuries and pain killer addiction nicely, thanks to Dr. Yang and the power of sheer determination. Zula’s know fool. She knows her sessions with Yang are being observed and that if she appears too broken, they’ll get rid of her. At the same time, if she appears to be too clever she’s a liability. So it’s very much a balancing act for her.

    When she’s interviewed about what she did, how she and Davis essentially staged a mutiny and disobeyed one direct order after the next, she admits to all of it. She says she regrets it, but that she’d do it again simply because she’s had firsthand experience with the xenomorphs she knows these cronies wants to cultivate into a weapons program. From there? Back surgery, more physio, and a meeting with Yang in which she tells her, off the record of course, that Hollis was killed during the biomatter removal procedure. Zula’s been cleared and let go, but this isn’t the end of things for her, not by a long shot. Since she knows she is under surveillance and that Weyland-Yutani put a tracking device inside of her during the operation she realizes that to stop this she has no choice but to go underground.

    This is an excellent issue on the part of writer Brian Wood. Here he manages to wrap up a lot of the loose ends from the eleven issues prior and set the stage for what is clearly the next chapter in the series. There are obviously big things yet to come and it’ll be interesting to see how Zula makes the transition from Colonial Marine to whatever it is that Wood intends to see her evolve into. The book’s anti-corporation stance plays a big part of what happens here – Zula is smart to trust no one, she really has no other choice here. Weyland-Yutani is the enemy at this point. The issue ends on a high note that we won’t spoil, but let it suffice to say that it is both surprising and somehow inevitable. Great stuff.

    Eduardo Francisco’s artwork, aided by Dan Jackson’s excellent coloring work, is really solid and an improvement over his already fine work in issue #11. There’s great detail here and some really interesting panel layouts. The scenes with Hollis in the operating room are genuinely eerie while the flashback sequence in which we see Zula relive her experiences going toe to toe with the aliens relay the action and horror inherent in that scenario quite nicely.

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