One of the finest sci-fi / horror movies of all-time, Alien, is getting a comic book adaption. In fact, it is an adaption of the 1976 screenplay written by Dan O’Bannon. It wasn’t until 1979 that Ridley Scott finally released his version after Star Wars gave the studio a reason to look seriously at an adaptation. Now Dark Horse Comics is releasing Alien The Original Screenplay as a 5-issue comic book not unlike the similar Predator series. The story for this adaption is written by Cristiano Seixas and penciled by Guilherme Balbi. I could find little about their prior experience with comic books, but my first reading of this issue has been mostly positive. When I first heard of this adaption I instantly knew I wanted to read it. I enjoy knowing any changes made to a story during a movie production. So here is issue #1.
That Alien vibe
One thing that holds me back watching Alien and playing Alien Isolation is the inevitable frustration. The characters are for the most part stupid dicks that deserve to die. The story Star Beast starts familiar. The cargo ship Snark journeys back to Earth when its crew wakes out of stasis prematurely. The names of the crew are unfamiliar: Broussard, Faust, Melkonis, XO Roby and Captain Standard. The latter two are female. Yet, the bickering over their premature end to stasis is familiar as is their banter on what they will do with their income. Roby and Standard quickly discover the computer decided on this course of action after intercepting a message of alien origin. The possibility of being the first crew to perform first-contact makes them giddy. The captain decides to send Snark through the atmosphere of the planetoid and land near the origin of the transmission.
Roby leads an excursion through the dust storm to the alien ship. They are able to get inside through an open door and observe what looks to be battle damage. Inside they find a dead alien seated in a command chair. It’s an iconic shot reminiscent of the Moebius artwork later used by Ridley Scott’s team. During this excursion the crew is jumpy but eventually discover the source of the transmission. Several egg shaped pods are thankfully empty. After photographing their discovery they return to the Snark. Quickly the crew decide this find is the most important in history and make plans for another trip. What they do not know is why the ship landed on the desolate planetoid and why it sent out a message. Though the crew surmise it is a distress signal. In issue #2 the crew will enter the structure known as the pyramid.
Conclusion to Alien The Original Screenplay issue #1
While I enjoyed reading this comic adaption it also felt too familiar. So far issue #1 has not deviated significantly from the Alien movie storyline. The names of the characters are different and the pacing is much faster. I was perhaps hoping it would be a new take on a familiar story. Instead, you could easily be forgiven to think there is no difference. That is not to say I did not enjoy reading Alien The Original Screenplay issue #1. The foreboding atmosphere common to all Alien movies is there as are the sci-fi elements. What is perhaps lacking are the personal relationships between crewmembers. In the original movie this led to strive and ultimately disaster as an alien-infected crewmember was brought onboard. In this comic adaptation there no is reference to personal relations. The artwork is however absolutely stunning, and without a doubt the main attraction.
I expect Alien the Original Screenplay issue #2 to see a release in early September. If you are interested in more Alien content you can read my review of Alien Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus.