A New Breed: Alien # 1 (Marvel Comics) - Reviewed


Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics

When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox in 2019 one of the biggest properties that came with it was the legendary horror/sci-fi series Alien. Now, four years on from the last release in the Alien film franchise Disney has unleashed a new story set in the Alien universe courtesy of Marvel Comics. Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Salvador Larroca, Alien #1 sets the stage for a new, mostly standalone, nightmare for fans to sink their teeth into. 

Alien #1 centers on Gabriel Cruz, a former mercenary for Weyland-Yutani, the interplanetary mega-corporation at the center of the Alien franchise, who has worked his way up in the company, albeit at the expense of his relationship with his friends and family back on Earth. One of the only direct connections to the Alien films comes from Curz’s therapist, a Bishop model synthetic. Alien #1 spends its time jumping between the present day, where Cruz tries to reconnect with his son, and a flashback slowly revealing a deadly encounter Cruz managed to survive with the iconic Xenomorph. 

The central conflict arises between Gabriel and his son, Daniel, when it is revealed that the latter harbors a deep resentment for Weyland-Yutani, not only for taking his father away from him, but also for the negative global impact that the company has. This leads to Daniel embarking on a dangerous trip to one of Weyland-Yutani’s research stations, and quickly getting in over his head. 

Gabriel’s flashback is kept mostly a mystery in the first issue, how Gabe and his crew came in contact with the Xenomorph and facehuggers is still unrevealed, but there is a universe of possibility out there for Johnson to work with. One of the greatest aspects of these scenes is the sense of hopelessness that is portrayed. The action picks up after the Xenomorph is already aboard Gabe’s ship, with how he escapes still to be discovered. 

While the Alien franchise has never been overly gory, it is a little strange that the most shocking scene in Alien #1 comes from a gunshot rather than a Xenomorph attack, but like any good story in the Alien universe the excitement comes from the buildup of tension. Another area of concern comes from the visualization of a dream the Gabe has. Without giving anything away, the dream presents some ideas that could stand to push the Alien canon away from what makes it so great in the first place: the raw, relentless, predatory nature of the Xenomorph. 



Larocca’s art in Alien #1 is fairly standard until it comes to the presentation of the Xenomorph, where it excels. The Xenomorph is not an easy creature to translate from a moving fully realized image to that of a still, flat, drawing, but Larocca still manages to frame the creature in a way that is as disturbing as in any of the Alien films. 


The striking cover of Alien #1 by InHyuk Lee makes this a comic worth collecting, regardless of the quality of the book; thankfully, Johnson has a strong start here. This first issue doesn’t present anything stellar or groundbreaking, but it is still a solid enough beginning to a story that will hopefully lead to some unique and interesting places.


--Neil Hazel