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Alien (2023) #5 Review

4 min read
It's a solid story overall and one that may read better in full but is definitely worth it in general but especially for the strong artwork.

A hard-fought moment of survival.

Creative Staff:
Story: Declan Shalvey
Art: Andrea Broccardo
Colors: Triona Farrell
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

What They Say:
ONE LAST CHANCE TO ESCAPE THE THAW! With secrets revealed, loved ones lost, and Xenomorphs engulfing the base – for a moment, Zasha thought all hope was gone. However, when a familiar face arrives in the form of a savior, the two set off for one last-ditch effort to escape the moon. The foes they will face – human and alien – might be their end, but just because the moon’s ice has thawed to reveal the horrors beneath doesn’t mean Zasha will let herself sink without a fight!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Alien property has a whole lot of great creative talent behind it over the years and this series is no exception. Declan Shalvey has too many great works to cite in this space but I’m thrilled to get not just his talent on this for the scripting but also the pacing, something these books can really falter with at times. Shalvey is joined by one of my favorite Marvel artists Andrea Broccardo and that delivers us a fantastic piece with so much detail, from great character designs to ensuring amusing bits of small continuity from the original film in the backgrounds. Triona Farrell is one of the best colorists out there and they’re able to take the artwork up several notches which in turn makes the tension of the script even more palpable. There’s an embarrassment of riches here when it comes to this team.

With this final installment, we do get a lot of the familiar elements that we’ve seen in other Alien stories but it’s done effectively here. The core story with Batya is one that plays out in a grim way as Zasha has now watched her pregnant mother die and can’t quite grasp yet the scale of horror that her mother was playing with through the xenomorph genetic material. Even worse, she’s now dealing with the realization of what Dasha is and that’s a hard pill to swallow, though something about it overall doesn’t quite click. She knew, obviously, that he wasn’t her father but he’d been working as a janitor for them prior to her father’s death and largely kept out of the way, so discovering that he’s a synth leaves her just kind of angry and speechless at times in trying to process it. You can handwave away some of it due to the chaos of the moment easily enough, but Dasha’s backstory and exposition feel like something was missing.

With these two making their way to the remaining ship that can get them into orbit, we also see how Wendell has been thrown into the cold, complaining that a simple extraction job has gone so wrong. As the corporate villain of the story you know he’s going to get brutally killed by the end like clockwork. More interesting is watching the two remaining marines trying to survive and making it to the ship as well, giving Dasha a challenge in his efforts to protect the kid. After the losses the marines have suffered here, it’s no surprise that they’re less than interested in helping this kid, especially since the hunt for her is what to them set all this chaos into motion. It’s a pretty good piece, especially visually, taking place on the platform outside and all the xenomorphs closing in. In the end, you just feel for the kid as she was largely unaware of so many things and got involved in stuff way outside her knowledge and now has to live with the loss of everything in her life.

In Summary:
I enjoyed this series a lot and keeping it to five issues definitely helped because going for another round would have dragged it out with a traditional six-issue run. Some of the stuff going on in this series makes you cringe from how disturbing it is and the reasons given never feel as solid as they should, though you can understand some of the motivation. What we get with Dasha’s past and story here is decent as well but felt incomplete, especially in relation to Batya’s daughter and how this was all agreed upon. It’s a solid story overall and one that may read better in full but is definitely worth it in general but especially for the strong artwork.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 16th, 2023
MSRP: $4.99