• Aliens Defiance #10

    Aliens Defiance #10
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: March 29th, 2017.
    Written by: Brian Wood
    Illustrated by: Stephen Thompson
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    "WHEN THE EUROPA WAS BOARDED BY PIRATES, Zula, Hollis, and Davis were forced to use the Alien queen they were carrying as a means of defense. Unfortunately, the ship sustained major damage, and now they have no choice but to limp back to Earth, where Weyland-Yutani is waiting for them."

    Zula and Hollis have suited up and are making what repairs they can to the ship, trying not to touch what's left of the bodies floating past them, remnants of what they just went through with the pirates. It doesn't look good - The Europa is pretty much done for. There's a fuel rupture - a radiation leak - and Davis doesn't want either of his human companions dealing with it or going anywhere near it for that matter.

    Davis is also in bad shape. The women try to repair him as best they can. As they do, he makes it clear he's none too happy about their eventual return to Earth. He knows Zula and Hollis will be detained and interrogated but as he is literally the property of Weyland-Yutani, he figures it only stands to reason that he'll be taken apart or worse. Davis knows he's hardware, but the changes he's made to his programming recently make him feel human and he doesn't want to die. He does, however, have a plan.

    As defense system Luna requests that the Europa reduce their speed, its inhabitants ignore the commands. Instead, Zula tells them that due to the engine problems they have, they can't slow down, that they're going to have to execute breaking maneuvers in Earth's orbit. It works, but they commence a bio scan - which means they're going to find out about the alien on board - likely the only reason that they're still alive in the first place. Turns out, those down there at Luna can't be trusted. Davis figured on this and takes steps to get rid of the 'sample' while Zula and Hollis get into the escape pod. They've been fired upon by Luna...

    Lots of interesting twists and turns in this one, it's more dialogue heavy than the typical issue of Aliens Defiance but for good reason. Zula spends a lot of time doing some soul searching here, in her head - we hear her thoughts even if the others don't. She's wrestling with a lot of this, with the fact that she's responsible for having made the deal to return to Earth, a deal that was in her best interests but not necessarily in Hollis or Davis - but should Davis matter? He's plastic. Or at least he was. Her guilt complex is about to get a whole lot worse, yet throughout this she keeps assuring herself that she's always tried to do the right thing. The character development in this series is what keeps it fresh and interesting. Aliens are cool and all, but without an interesting human element to combine them with, they can get boring quickly. That hasn't happened yet in this run, Brian Wood shows he's got a real knack for writing interesting characters that we can relate to and for putting them in some exciting and tense situations.

    Artwork this issue is from Stephen Thompson, with colors courtesy of Dan Jackson. If this series has been switching artists fairly often, at least there's consistency within the revolving door. Thompson has a great eye for detail and for creating some very realistic facial expressions. Even in terms of how Davis is illustrated - he doesn't cry or show fear the way that the ladies do, but there's something about the way that his cold, robotic eyes are drawn that makes you feel for the character. It works really well alongside Wood's writing. It's also easy to appreciate all the little details that go into making the Europa, or what's left of it, feel real and like a proper spaceship. It would have been easy to skimp on the background details on a series like this but that hasn't happened here and the book is all the better for it. Stephanie Hans contributes an appropriately eerie painted cover.

    A great issue, one that ends on a serious cliffhanger that'll keep readers hooked and ensure they return for the next one.