Apparently, William Gibson’s Alien 3 was going to be one of those sequels where the franchise lead spends a bunch of time off-screen or unconscious; Ripley’s knocked out this issue, so Sigourney Weaver would be doing the Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween II thing in extremis. We get a couple scenes with Newt, but some more significant ones with Hicks. Sort of. He’s not allowed to phone home and debrief, so he spends the issues asking the same questions over and over. Well, at least in his few scenes.
The longest scene involves the U.P.P.—the future Soviets—discussing how they’re going to return Bishop the android to the Americans—the Company—forcing them to reveal they want to use the alien for biological warfare. It’s four pages, with a couple of them recapping everything we already know about the alien thanks to having seen Aliens. The scene’s long, redundant, and a potential waste of time. It provides context for later on when the Soviets call the Americans, but that call suggests it’d be more compelling if we didn’t know there was a scheme.
Otherwise, the comic moves between the various crew members of the space station as they deal with two sets of unexpected visitors: the Aliens survivors and the Company biological warfare team. Writer and artist Johnnie Christmas does a good job making everyone visually distinct, but their characters are all pretty bland. There are about fifteen characters in the comic already; it’s way too many, especially for a sequel, especially when Christmas isn’t doing any character setup. People have personality traits to get them through scenes, but it’s setup.
It’s so set up the cliffhanger doesn’t raise the pulse. Someone gets threatened with bureaucratic menace. It’s an inert finish, and I was hoping Christmas would figure out a better stopping point.
I just wish there was a single good character. Unfortunately, Christmas keeps pushing off character development, but only three issues are left; these interchangeable red shirts aren’t cutting it.