REVIEW: Aliens: Rescue #1

Dark Horse’s Latest Brian Wood Outing Will Be a Lot of Fun If It’s Given Room to Breathe

LOOK AT MY FANCY HELMET. Image: Dark Horse Comics

LOOK AT MY FANCY HELMET. Image: Dark Horse Comics

by Patrick Greene

I’ll come right out and say it: I thought Aliens: Resistance was awful. I found the visuals inconsistent and confounding, the storytelling rushed and a little bit stupid, the characters interchangeable and uninteresting.

Which was borderline shocking to me, coming on the heels of Brian Wood’s previous outing (the excellent Defiance, which you can grab in two nicely priced collected volumes).

Aliens: Rescue, whose first issue dropped earlier this month, is off to a technically solid (if slightly uninspired) start. Picking up years after the events of Resistance (did I mention I didn’t like that one?), Rescue centers on Alec Brand—a minor character, er … rescued by Zula Hendricks and Amanda Ripley during the events of Resistance.



He’s grown into a Man With a Tough Looking Haircut, and as such he’s been brought into the fold of the Colonial Marines. He appears to miss/appreciate Amanda and Zula, and to have been scarred by the events of his childhood. He also has an interesting backstory, which is unfortunately glossed over in a handful of panels (wonderfully colored by Dan Jackson) instead of being given time to unspool.

And that brings me to my main complaint with these limited arcs: why do they have to be so short? Why was Dust to Dust compressed to four issues? Why was Dead Orbit (my favorite Dark Horse title in years) squeezed into four issues? And how did James Stokoe manage to pull that format off?

And why did Aliens: Resistance, which, again, was awful, try to fit two or three movies’ worth of exposition into four issues?

Aliens: Rescue, which isn’t bad by any means, is already having to race along just to fit the plot into a tiny bucket. Fox, Dark Horse, et al. are clearly trying to make us invest in this new generation of characters. And I love that idea, because Zula is wonderful, Amanda (at least in Isolation) is great, and Alec is … something? But give us time with them. Time that isn’t purely expositional. The best parts of Aliens: Rescue #1 are psychological: Alec remembering his childhood on Earth, and the Marines fighting a horde of (nicely designed) creatures while Alec deals with PTSD.

Give us time to appreciate that. Give us time to get to know them.

Brian Wood clearly knows what he’s doing. He can tell a great story, and he’s proven as much with Defiance (which breathed over a much longer arc). Kieran McKeown, whom I’ve never heard of before but whose art I like quite a bit, brings a nicely solid skillset to the title. It’s not particularly expressive (or particularly interesting), but it tells a cohesive story in a way that’s easy to follow and enjoyable to look at.

The feel of Rescue is similar to the feel of Resistance: these are NOT horror titles. This isn’t James Stokoe. These are action sci-fi comics. What I like about Rescue is that it feels more aware of that fact and more at home with that aesthetic. It reads like a slightly more involved version of those mini-comics that came with Kenner figures in the nineties.

And that isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just a thing, and as such it needs to inform decisions about tone and pace etc. If Aliens: Rescue wants to succeed, it needs to embrace what it is and enjoy itself.

Give us action. Give us colorful space adventures with the Colonial Marines. Give us a protagonist with a backstory that means something, and give us an arc that can buttress and tie back around to what we’ve had from Wood and Co. over the past few years.

Aliens: Rescue #1 isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a step in a direction I can get onboard with.

Rating: 3/5

Review: Blade Runner 2019 #1 (spoiler-free)

Titan’s New Entry Into the Blade Runner Universe Is Gritty, Compelling, and Worthy of Its Name

by Patrick Greene, with input from Jaime Prater and Dan Ferlito



If you’ve seen Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner—you have, right?—you’ve undoubtedly been struck by the density of the world-building. The story focuses on a relatively small cast of characters, but the Los Angeles they inhabit is a phantasmagoric dystopia that seems at once incomprehensibly large and impossibly crowded.

Watching the film, you might’ve found yourself wondering: What’s happening just out of frame? What other stories are taking place behind those grimy windows, backlit by neon and underscored by an ocean of Cityspeak?

Lucky for you—and for us—David Leach, Senior Creative Editor at Titan Comics, wondered the same thing. And that’s where the vision behind Blade Runner 2019 emerged.




We’re quickly introduced to our protagonist, Aahna Ashina (“Ash”), an LAPD Blade Runner so good at her job she’s running out of work. While she waits for her next bounty assignment, she’s tasked with a missing persons case: a billionaire’s wife and daughter have vanished, and there are concerns Replicants might be involved.

Ash is a compelling character from the get-go. Almost preternaturally good at her job, she’s more of a Sherlock Holmes than a Rick Deckard. She’s full of quirks: she never takes her coat off, and her spinner almost never leaves the ground.

She also, we find out early on in a particularly gruesome (and thematically poetic) scene, has no moral reservations retiring Replicants.

One of the eternal debates in Blade Runner fandom centers around the use of voiceover in the early cuts of the film. Whether you love it or hate it (there might not be a middle ground on this), the voiceover adds significantly to the noir feel of the theatrical release. Blade Runner 2019 brings the voiceover back in a big way, and it works. It’s sparing, it’s beautiful, and it makes the comic feel like a classic noir tale.


From the very start, it’s clear that this is a comic created by people with tremendous reverence for the source material. The attention to detail, the tone, the Easter eggs—it’s all organically brought together in a way that feels made by fans. Fans who happen to be extremely talented.

Michael Green needs no introduction (he’s the Academy Award-nominated cowriter of Blade Runner 2049), but it’s worth pointing out what a masterful turn it was having him onboard for this story. There’s a real tonal continuity to the films. It’s more aesthetically aligned to the first Blade Runner film, but the language feels like a bridge between the two.

His writing partner, Mike Johnson, brings a wealth of comic-industry experience to the project (interesting factoid: he’s scripted more Star Trek comics than any other writer). I can’t emphasize how important this is: comics are a unique medium, and some of the best novelists and screenwriters have tried and failed to cross over in the past. Johnson and Green make a hell of a team.

Speaking of people who understand comics: Andres Guinaldo is a PERFECT fit for the artwork. He’s got a very analog, almost nineties style; hand-drawn (or at least looking like it), with tremendous detail and dynamic, confident inks. Paired with Marco Lesko’s vibrant colors, it feels beautifully uncommercial. It feels labored over. It feels loved. It feels very human, which is part of why we love Blade Runner in the first place.


It’s almost impossible to overstate how important these comics are for our fandom. They are canon sequels, just as 2049 is a canon sequel to Blade Runner. They’re co-written by the man who, with Hampton Fancher, gave us one of the great sequels of our time. They’re produced in direct collaboration with Alcon. They feature art (variant covers and design inspiration) by Syd Mead.

These are real, and they are permanent additions to our fandom. And if the rest of them are anything like issue one, we are very, very lucky.

Blade Runner 2019 #1 goes on sale July 17. Call your local comic shop and ask them to set one aside for you, or order your copy online.

Shoulder of Orion rating: 4.5/5

Patrick: 5/5

Jaime: 3.5/5

Dan: 5/5