Alien 3 by William Gibson

details
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.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: August 6th 2019.
Pages: 136.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781506708119.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.

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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.

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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.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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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?

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48 comments

  • A3 did not move me like the first two. You could tell they were stretching the franchise to squeeze in a sequel with Sigourney.
    I saw and liked the first prequel that came out a couple of years ago. I have stayed far away from the Alien/Predator match-ups.

    This comic does not appear to be particularly exciting. sigh.

    Happy Trails!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed. A3 failed to be as relevant as its predecessors and marked the beginning of the end for the franchise… Until Ridley Scott got back on his horse and gave us Prometheus and Covenant.

      Funny thing is, Aliens vs. Predator was my introduction to these creatures when I was a kid hahah Only afterwards did I watch the original movies. 😀

      And yes, this graphic novel isn’t exactly the best alternative to A3, unfortunately. There are other scripts that have been adapted (audiobook, novel, etc.) but I haven’t tried them yet to know if they’re any better…

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’m a massive Alien fan as you well know, but this sounds like something I’m not very interested in. Strange though as I read a post a while back for the audio drama of this one, and the reviewer gave it very high praise. Might also have something to do with the fact that both Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen reprised their roles😊 But well, if I can get this somewhere for not to high a price I might add it pure from a collector’s point of view. Not in a real rush to get this though. Great post Lashaan😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahah if I stand correct, William Gibson used a different script for the audiobook, which probably explains why it received positive reviews from others. It was indeed a nice decision to bring Biehn and Henriksen on that project though. Nostalgia kicks in pretty quick! 😀 And yes, I think this graphic novel is better for collector’s/fan’s than anyone else. Thank you for reading, Michel!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah okay. That definitely would explain it! Well, I will try and track down the audio book as bringing Biehn and Henriksen back for their roles makes it worthwhile for me to go check this out 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  • The Husband listened to an audiodrama of the unused 3rd script, and loved it. He said it was so much better than the movie. Now I’m curious if it is the same you read, or if the audio added So much more to it. Great review!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, first of all, how did I never realize that Dawie was your husband?!? My brain exploded from realizing this after he commented on this post; which is also a new achievement, having the both you leave a comment on one of my posts! 😛 And yes, I think there are major differences between the script used for the graphic novel and the one used for the audiobook. I’m curious to find out how much better it is now. Thank you for reading, Milou! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Like my wife stated further up I loved the audio drama of A3 that they did of of the original script. This comic was loosley based of of that if I am not mistaken. I am also a fore runner for not fucking with the lore of the original Alien, but, this is a big but, if you take into context the way the script was written and look at the time it was written, I feel that it was so way ahead of it’s time… If you think about the prometheus film era side of things, it is like they also drew from this script, especially the part that the spores were introduced… Great review though, I understand your gripes with the comic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruh, I’m still shocked in discovering who your wife was! To have you both drop a comment on this post is a helluva achievement in my books! 😀

      Back to the subject, yes, it’s pretty cool that you got around to checking out that audio drama. I think the script used for the audiobook was different from the one used for the comics, after all he did write multiple scripts.

      I’d be curious to hear what you’d think of the changes they made in the comics though. I personally think it went against what we know and love about xenomorphs, its characters and the world. But hey, you’re right, maybe it was just too far of a leap for it to work.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, sir. I really appreciate it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • That’s the danger of many POV Lashaan! Often we don’t care for one of them or it just disrupts the story. Personally I think it’s way more challenging to do it right than single POV!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely! When authors know how to balance multiple characters, you know they can write! 😀 In this case, it just switched around too much too fast. And we barely know any of the characters to even care. It’s why I felt like it didn’t work as it should’ve. Thanks for reading, Sophie! 😀

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  • Not a fan of the Fincher movie, myself, but I am a bit disappointed that Gibson’s screenplay didn’t live up to the hype.. I remember Dave’s review of the audiobook based on his screenplay and it seems it’s something you either love or hate 😉 But totally agree, Giger’s design of the xenomporph is absolutely untouchable!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Boring characters and switching POVs!! A bad combo… I think multiple POVs only work well when you’re trying to take a world and show different aspects of it that would be ridiculous if a single character experienced them all. Dual POVs are different but yeah sometimes multiple POVs are used to try to make something boring more intense. I’m sorry to hear you plain didn’t enjoy this one Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the “Alien” movies, though I really like the idea of turning an unsuccessful movie draft into a comic book. It must be really interesting to see how they managed to adapt something that was meant to have an audiovisual support to a strictly visual one!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I didn’t even know that there was an Alien 3! I find it weird to change the original story to a different one in the comic book ! 😮 they could have done something different !
    Anyway, great review, Lashaan 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well, I’ve just bought the digital release of this but haven’t started reading it yet…and lowered my expectations somewhat. I’m fully aware of the history of Alien 3’s production and Gibson’s original concept (it’s all covered extensively in the dvd/blu-ray special features) so although interesting, I was glad it wasn’t the version that was filmed…shame this comic adaptation only highlights the fundamental flaws of the concept.

    As for the movie itself, I honestly feel Alien 3 is underrated – sure, not on the same level as Alien and Aliens but I always enjoyed it and felt it was a satisfactory (at the time) conclusion…I mean Alien: Resurrection is a lot, lot worse in my eyes. Obviously the behind the scenes issues soured the final product a little (and early CGI rarely holds up, but back in 1991 that’s about the best they could do)…but it’s a film I still have a fondness for. I’ll be doing a flashback on it eventually, once I’ve revisited Aliens which I think pretty much everyone agrees is a masterpiece!

    Awesome review Lashaan, it’s good to hear your perspective on things even in the rare instances our opinions don’t completely align!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it since I know you’re an even bigger fan of the franchise than anyone could ever be. Do you also plan on picking up the audiobook? With some of the original cast from the movies reprising their roles?

      I plan on revisiting Ressurection soon to refresh my memory but if YOU think it’s bad, then I think I’m going to be scratching my eye balls out now…

      Thanks for the kind words, sir. Even when we don’t share the same exact opinion on it, it’s nice to hear a fan’s thoughts on it. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I finished it over the weekend and…oh dear…yep, totally agree with your review. I knew quite a bit about Gibson’s story going in but it just didn’t work for me at all…I wasn’t digging the art either (I think that;s a general thing with Dark Horse unfortunately).

        I will however have to pick up the audio drama with Michael Beinh (Hicks) returning…but will have relatively low expectations.

        I’ve given Resurrection a few chances but I just never enjoy it and reading Gibson’s Alien 3 made me realise how bad it actually is and I just can’t bring myself to watch it again…son’t let me put you off though good sir, you may have a different view on it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahahaha for some reason, it’s sort of reassuring to know that it didn’t work for you too. 😀 Oh well, I guess we’ll just hope that the next Alien movie will blow our minds away. And no worries for Resurrection. I’m a completionist at heart. I’ll definitely watch it soon (as well as Predators and The Predator, before you unleash your throwback reviews!) 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’ll be a while yet before I get to the Predators flashback piece as I’ve got other things lined up (the Predator 2 post is drafted but in the queue for now) sir so you will most likely have checked it out in good time.

            I hear whispers that Disney are looking to ‘reboot’ the Alien franchise, whatever that might entail – I hope they just do something like the comics, i.e. tell a story within the established universe and don’t attempt to restart the whole thing with some sort of re-imagining of Alien. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t dare attempt that…but then I do have concerns about Disney…

            Liked by 1 person

            • I saw Alien: Ressurection recently and… Wow. I think the first 10 seconds convinced me that it was going to be a disaster hahah And that ending! The movie really messed around too much with the franchise. To clone her and extract it out too… Talk about making any sense… Boy… Now I understand why the original series ended with this 4th movie. I don’t know how you could revive it after Ressurection. Reboot would be the only option let.

              I’ll be checking out Prometheus and Covenant soon to complete my ongoing “Alien phase” hahah I’ll probably then go on to complete the Predator movies. Sounds like I’ll have plenty of time to catch up on them before your reviews hahah

              Ehh… Disney getting control of everything is a sad reality… Their recent announcement about rebooting some classics like Home Alone, Wimpy Kid, Alien, Predator, etc. was pretty sad… It’s like they want to establish themselves in the movie business and set a new standard for movies… I won’t jump the gun too fast but if they keep the formula they’ve had for their Marvel movies and later applied to the SW movies… I fear for anything they hope to reboot. 😦

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              • I think the “formula” element is definitely an issue and so long as they’re making a ton of money, I can see them only playing it ‘safe’. I may be one of the few but I wanted Fox to remain Fox, they could have maybe worked out a deal for the Marvel properties but everything else, like Alien, Predator and Planet of the Apes have such a specific ‘feel’ to them. Plus there’s the question of competition and creative variety too.

                Prometheus is okay and there are some neat ideas and I wasn’t overly impressed with Covenant but it has its moments, but a far cry from Alien and Aliens…but both are a million times more appealing than Resurrection!

                Liked by 1 person

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