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William Gibson’s Alien 3 #2 Review

Thus far, corporate interest in confidentiality and monologues on tactical diplomacy get a tad tedious to say the least.

The amount of alt-Alien 3 stories in circulation seem insurmountable. From Neill Blomkamp’s proposed (and shortly thereafter turned down) midquel, to the Colonial Marines video game that suggests a separate fate for Corporal Hicks, to the myriad of unproduced screenplays penned in the years between James Cameron’s Aliens and David Fincher flouted third installment. Filmmakers such as Vincent Ward (The Navigator, What Dreams May Come) and Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2) put forth ideas ranging anywhere from franchise heroine Ripley crash landing on a monk-run interstellar monastery to exporting the alien homeworld and all avenues in between.

The forum frontrunner in terms of unproduced scripts of interest in various internet conclaves tends to be William Gibson’s effort. The Neuromancer author’s intended entry into the franchise is now being adapted into a five issue miniseries. While issue #1 reintroduced fans to the sleeping survivors of the Sulaco, issue 2 (some spoilers ahead) features a now conscious yet incredulous Newt, the war wary Hicks as he awaits debriefing, and Ripley herself; trapped in a post-hypersleep comatose state. They’re being held on Weyland-Yutani military installation Anchorpoint as company execs order testing on xenomorph biological material recovered from the ship. Meanwhile, the Union of Progressive Peoples aka U.P.P. (yeah, you know me!), Gibson’s sci-fi stand-in for the Soviet Union (bear in mind, this story was written back in 1987), accesses vital information from the upper torso of android Bishop regarding the Colonial Marines’ venture to LV-421. While U.P.P. ultimately intends to return Bishop back to the custody of Wey-Yu, the knowledge taken from the disemboweled driod looks to ignite a biological weapons race between the two opposing political factions.

As with issue 1, much of issue 2 spends its page count setting dominos into place. Shy of a single chestburst at the onset of the story, there’s yet to be any alien action to be had and much of the interplanetary squabbling between various political factions of the future appear woefully reminiscent of the Star Wars prequels (Trade Federation anyone?). My awareness of Gibson’s script informs me that story beats are sure to pick up in future issues; however, thus far, corporate interest in confidentiality and monologues on tactical diplomacy get a tad tedious to say the least.

While the theatrical Alien 3 wasn’t exactly a runaway success with critics and audiences and the fanbase at large seems to adopt a grass is always greener approach with regard to any version Alien 3 that didn’t get made, I for one could count myself among Alien 3‘s ever growing cult following.

For more on that as well as a deeper look at the comic prior, read my review of issue #1.

William Gibson's Alien 3 #2
Is it good?
A middling issue in what hopes to be an altogether better series of comics.
Art courtesy of Johnnie Christmas (Firebug, Sheltered) reintroduces fans to the world of Alien in loving detail.
Hicks is back in the saddle again.
Ripley is sidelined.
Allusions to the Cold War are dated.
The story’s bogged down by its exposition heavy, sociopolitical subplot.
The story, setting and character seem too enraptured in Cameron’s second film to break new ground of its own.

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