William Gibson’s Alien 3 #1 Rewrites the Initial Alien Encounter for Communists

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ridley Scott’s 1977 sci-fi horror masterpiece Alien works because it is slow, atmospheric, and truly terrifying. Much of that terror comes from watching the various forms of an unknown alien species wreaking havoc on the crew of the Nostromo, who are, by all accounts, a bunch of blue collar folk just trying to make their way in a world run by enormous corporations. These working stiffs would have survived their encounter just fine were it not for the dispassionate, often robotic, interference of The Company. It’s Weyland-Yutani’s plant, Ash, that breaks protocol and allows Kane and the facehugger onto the ship, despite ranking officer Ripley denying them access. The first issue of William Gibson’s Alien 3, Darkhorse Comic’s adaptation of Gibson’s un-produced script for the sequel to 1986’s Aliens, revisits a very similar point of first contact with the alien, this time without a company stooge to muck it up. Continue reading

Velvet 5

Today, Greg and Shelby are discussing Velvet 5, originally released May 21st, 2014.

Greg: When I come home from work — hell, when I come home from a light jog — I’m often dog-tired. I feel drained and emaciated, like the only thing I have energy to do is crash in front of the TV. I have, at time, uttered the phrase “This day beat me up” out loud. However, after reading this particularly haunting and emotionally draining issue of Velvet, I realize that my pity parties are a grain of sand compared to how massively exhausted Velvet — hell, even other fictional spies like Bond and Bourne — must feel after an average day. The day beat her up, alright. Physically, emotionally, and everything in between.  Continue reading

Velvet 3

velvet 3

Today, Drew and Greg are discussing Velvet 3, originally released January 15th, 2014.

Drew: It’s amazing how easily gender-bending a trope can force us to confront ingrained assumptions about gender. No matter how progressive our views are, watching a female character rescue a male, or seeing a guy in the kind of revealing clothing women are expected to wear as a matter of course, continues to feel incredibly alien. Spy stories, with their own unique set of gendered tropes, are a particularly ripe subject for gender-bending, and Ed Brubaker struck upon a brilliant one with Velvet‘s premise: what if James Bond (or any other beloved british spy) was a woman? It has allowed him to subvert many of the stereotypes we often accept as part of the genre (and its period setting), but issue 3 reveals that it also allows him a fresh perspective on the collateral damage of all that spying fun. Continue reading