REVIEW: Aliens: Aftermath #1 – Guess We Weren’t So Sure After All

A glowing Xenomorph moves through the wreckage of the colony of Hadley's Hope

What makes the Xenomorph species 426 so deadly is its constant state of evolution and adaptability. Ellen Ripley and company may have escaped the planet LV-426, nuking it from above and leaving it in a nuclear winter, but that method of destruction wasn’t as sure as they hoped it would be. Thirty-five years into the aftermath of that event and the erasure of its colony, Hadley’s Hope, a team of investigative journalists is going to make a very frightening discovery. Spoiler: it’s an alien.

Aliens: Aftermath #1

Ariana Maher (letterer), Phil Noto (cover artist), Benjamin Percy (writer), Christopher Sotomayor (colourist), David Wachter (artist)
Marvel Comics
July 14, 2021

A glowing Xenomorph moves through the wreckage of the colony of Hadley's Hope

There are two familiar names in this story: Drake and Vasquez. In the 1986 Aliens film, Drake and Vasquez were a part of the team of colonial marines sent in to discover what happened to the colony on LV-426. They were also good friends. Here, we don’t get much time to learn if Drake has any relation to the marine from the past, but Cutter Vasquez is the nephew of Jenette Vasquez, the woman who sacrificed herself, along with Lieutenant Gorman, to give their companions a chance and to avoid being impregnated by the Xenomorphs. But Cutter knows nothing about this because all the details of that mission — and everything about Hadley’s Hope — has been scrubbed from the records. Cutter has further beef with Weyland-Yutani corporation because he is certain that the life support system on the colony transport ship he and his parents were on was purposely unplugged by the despicable company as a cost-saving measure.

This Drake and Vasquez are accompanied by Woody Ballesteros and Lela Rosewood. We don’t get to learn much about them or their relationship to each other, save for Cutter and how each reacts to him, at least on a superficial level. There’s the implication that Lela once had a deeper connection with Cutter, but his desire to unearth the secrets Weyland-Yutani has kept from him drives him and the group’s goals, even into dangerous situations. Together, they are Renegade XM, broadcasting their extremist media to the people and somehow believing that Weyland-Yutani has no idea what they are up to. Weyland-Yutani is forever out to catch themselves a Xenomorph for nefarious purposes, of which we are reminded when Cutter mentions the name Carter Burke — a character whom I have only recently come to sort-of-forgive Paul Reiser for portraying.

Revisiting an established story gives the writer a chance to ‘reveal’ things that previous characters didn’t find before. For example, upon arrival at the decimated colony, Lela immediately activates the MU-TH-UR 7000 (aka Mother) mainframe hologram that the marines and the Hadley’s Hope colonists failed to make use of in Aliens or the audio drama, Alien: River of Pain. That’s my first annoyance with some of the plot advancement decisions in this story. The second is a nitpick that comes with Cutter constantly referring to Weyland-Yutani as “W-Y” instead of the obviously much easier and common short form, “Wey-Yu.” In other words, elements of this story might slide through unquestioned by a casual reader, but a fan of the Alien lore may look more closely at the finer details.

Benjamin Percy wastes very little time in introducing us to his new bioluminescent, nitrogen-spewing Xenomorph, which already graces the cover, so it obviously isn’t intended to be a surprise to anyone but its victims. The product of the nuclear fallout, this drone seems to be just as well-equipped as its predecessors to kill quickly and efficiently. Artist David Wachter does the Alien series justice with the attention to detail in the Xenomorph’s structure, as well as the intricate H. R. Giger designs that permeate what remains of Hadley’s Hope. Christopher Sotomayor’s colours make the Xenomorph literally shine, ensuring that the darkness becomes the safest place to be.

But it’s not just the alien we have to worry about here. Turns out there was another secret hiding in Hadley’s Hope that the marines missed, but Cutter has found it. Which means so has Weyland-Yutani…

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.