The Synthetic team’s mission on Tobler-9 takes a detour when an underground society of humans makes their presence known alongside the Xenomorphs.
- Phillip Kennedy Johnson
- Julius Ohta
- VC’s Clayton Cowles
- Cover Artist:
- Björn Barends
- Release Date:
- Yen Nitro
Marvel’s acquisition of the Alien franchise resulted in last year’s thrilling series. Now, the current series puts a team of hardened Synthetics, dubbed the Steel Team, at the forefront. They have handled United Systems’ dirty business in the past. If successful in their mission, Synthetics around the galaxy can have a chance at full citizenship in the planetary systems. But only if Tobler-9’s predominant species do not tear them apart first. Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with artwork from Julius Ohta, colors by Yen Nitro, and letters from VC’s Clayton Cowles, Alien #3 places more hurdles along the way for the Synths.
Set in the year 2217, Alien #3 opens on Tobler-9, a radioactive planet overrun by Xenomorphs. Guided by their human saviors, the Synths brave the radioactive rain to reach their settlement. Their leader, Melody, gives Frejya and her team a chance to recoup and attend to their mechanical emergencies. The humans have made the main maintenance complex their home, setting up shops and schools in and around the facility. As they tour the place, Melody and Freyja discuss the probable location of the biologic that United Systems are so badly looking for. Two days later, under cover of the black rain, Melody takes Steel Team to a hive presided over by a Queen Xenomorph.
For the last couple of issues, writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been busy reshaping the perception of androids in the Alien universe and their strained relationship with humans. With Alien #3, he thrusts the highly skilled group of Synths into an uncomfortable situation that calls for a truce as they confront the animalistic nature of their enemies. Johnson takes almost the entire length of the book to explain the crisis faced by the dystopian settlement, which leaves only a few pages to move the story forward. But in those few final pages, the action picks up and keeps readers guessing.
Julius Ohta’s artwork emphasizes the characters’ faces, ranging from suspicious looks to expressions of sheer terror. Using well-defined contour lines, Ohta creates a sprawling underground society as the book’s backdrop while keeping Freyja and Melody at the center of the action. The external art is gnarly, thanks to a plethora of inking that make the surrounding atmosphere dark and mysterious. Despite that, colorist Yen Nitro keeps the book flooded with bright lights, complete with lens flares and sparkling reflections over water. He uses a vivid array of colors and alternating tones to add depth to Ohta’s art. At times, it feels almost too bright, considering the overcast nature of the landscape.
Alien #3 focuses more on drama and exposition than it does xenomorphs. The narrative moves slowly but steadily, building the hostile world of Tobler-9 around the wreckage of a fallen civilization and broken dreams. Like the humans, the Xenomorphs have also adapted to their new surroundings, which creates a new conundrum for the Synths and leaves them with fewer options than they started with. But for readers, the tension is no doubt an appealing prospect. Alien #3 ends with a bombshell twist that some may call cliched, but it definitely picks up the pace and raises the stakes.