Title: Alien 3.
Writer(s): William Gibson.
Penciller(s): Johnnie Christmas.
Colourist(s): Tamra Bonvillain.
Letterer(s): Nate Piekos of Blambot.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: August 6th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
Following the incredible success of both the original Alien (1979) movie directed by Ridley Scott and its sequel Aliens (1986) directed by James Cameron, it was only a matter of time before another project was set loose at the box office to further explore the horrifying world filled with xenomorphs. Unfortunately, the third installment knew more problems than mankind could ever deal with, as issues during production arose from left and right, shooting began without a script to help it, and countless screenwriters and directors were recruited for this movie. In his directorial debut, director David Fincher sees himself attributed the burden to launch this sequel and suffers through an underperforming and poorly-received movie that however didn’t stop him from later releasing some of the best movies cinema has ever witnessed.
What is Alien 3 about? This unproduced screenplay is author William Gibson’s second draft for the movie. While both his first draft (can be found online here) and his second draft were turned down by studios, he was now invited to produce a graphic novel based on the second script for fans to discover what he originally planned for a sequel to Aliens. Set during the Cold War, the story begins with the Union of Progressive Peoples intercepting the spaceship Sulaco, carrying Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and Bishop. Within the ship, another deadly passenger happens to also be patiently waiting, looking for the perfect opportunity to reign havoc. While two of the most powerful governments are looking to develop a weapon of mass destruction, their project will have to be put to the side as they try and deal with the nastiest alien threat they will ever face.
If you think Willaim Gibson’s screenplay is anything like the movie, think again. The script utilized for this graphic novel completely reimagines the franchise’s direction and invites readers to forget anything they’ve learned about the creatures to even enjoy this adventure a little. One of the biggest change is how Ripley, while present in this story, isn’t the main protagonist and is actualize quickly disposed of—not literally—halfway in. It was already a big move in the movie when Ripley was quickly made the center of attention as the rest of the crew was removed from the picture, but this time around, fans won’t have any known figures to truly follow as they are forced to reacquaint themselves with new figures who are completely uninteresting.
If that wasn’t enough, the story also gives the xenomorphs new abilities that are absolutely insane. They aren’t just creatures that look for incubators in living beings in order to grow at an exponential rate, this time around they also have mutating powers that appear out of the blue, making them threats à la Terminator. As much as I love when a world expands and the story brings in new key components to play with, this seemed like an extremely ambitious idea that steered the original plotline into directions that are beyond anyone’s understanding. Would it have made for a better movie than what we got with Alien³, I doubt it.
The artwork that accompanies this story is still decent with excellent and vibrant colouring that offers clear visuals that make it easy to follow the action. It’s in the structure of the story that it, however, suffers immensely with the story alternating points of view too often for anything to seem fluid. From one page to another, the story can shift perspectives, leaving no room for the reader to really grasp the context. With a lot of elements left aside for readers to deduce—actually, to guess—the artwork could never save the story even if the artists wanted to. Even the design of the xenomorphs is different and that’s something you just shouldn’t touch.
Alien 3 is a high-reaching proposal that completely reshapes the xenomorph’s lore with new creatures, characters, and environments, without staying loyal to the original premise.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
David Fincher’s Alien³ created a massive wave of criticism for how poorly-executed this sequel to James Cameron’s Aliens was. While the Assembly Cut was better than the Theatrical Cut, this movie had so many issues in plot and cinematography. I mean… just the CGI in this movie was pretty awkward. While I love movies by David Fincher, I’ll leave this movie at the bottom of his filmography. Have you seen it? What did you think about it?