blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

William Gibson’s Alien 3 (2018) #5


Presumably, the very, very important Communist character would’ve had a more significant part in the movie. However, in the comic adaptation—in Johnnie Christmas’s adaptation, anyway—not so much. Maybe because their story is entirely the Aliens thriller and suspense sections. It’s unfortunate, though, only because the conclusion—where they talk about how we’re supposed to share these new worlds in peace or whatever—doesn’t work without having better emphasized the Soviets. Or whatever they’re called.

To get over rough spots—where he doesn’t have time for the action sequences—Christmas once again lets Alien 3 feel like a comic adaptation, not an adaptation of an unproduced screenplay. Christmas rushes through the alien action sequences, as they keep breaking out, page after page, as the survivors realize there are a lot more aliens around than they thought. Luckily, Hicks has a weapon—“you have no weapons of any kind”—so they’re not helpless.

There’s also what should be a tense action sequence for Lance Henriksen’s Bishop, who gets a far better arc in this version than the produced movie. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly tense in the comic. The action’s just the wrong type, or Christmas just doesn’t have the pages. You’d need maybe three all-action issues to get through everything in this issue. And maybe it would read better in a single sitting. Alien 3 never can catch any breaks.

As is, this issue needs another five pages. There aren’t so many aliens we can’t keep track, so Christmas needed to keep better track instead of summarizing. Especially when they start in-fighting; no spoilers, but it’s a precursor to Alien Resurrection.

There’s one other big surprise to the comic. Again, no spoilers. But the Alien³ they made closed off a franchise; this Alien 3 they didn’t make… it opened it up.

It’s not unimaginable; with a good director and some decent script doctoring (Alien producers Walter Hill and David Giler probably could’ve handled it easily), this version would’ve been superior to the theatrical version (which I like okay). But it’s hard to tell from William Gibson’s Alien 3. It’s an okay Elseworlds Aliens comic. It’s unique due to its context, not its content. Christmas’s distinctive, but at the end of the day, he’s just adapting.

I was expecting more, but I’m not disappointed.

Like I said, Alien 3 can never catch a break.

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