Alien 3 by author William Gibson, Illustrations by Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillain
William Gibson’s Alien 3 graphic novel is basically a story board for the never completed third sequel in the Alien movie franchise.
I’ll be honest, I rewatched the first Alien movie a couple years ago when it played at a local theater but I haven’t seen the second one in probably 20 years. Yikes, I’m getting old.
I didn’t expect to need to know everything from the first two movies to be able to enjoy the third one. Maybe if you’re a super-fan and know more of the extended lore and characters Alien 3 might be more enjoyable for you.
However, if you’re like me and only a casual fan, this one will likely be challenging.
Alien 3 does a deep dive into the politics of the Alien universe. The book drops the reader into the middle of conversations packed with dense dialogue about companies and political parties we’re supposed to recognize. But I sure didn’t. So I was lost, the whole time.
From what I can gather there is a military contracted company aiming to weaponize the aliens somehow. Obviously, there are others who think this is a mistake. Most of the book is spent observing conversations between assumed to be powerful people I don’t recognize and therefore don’t care about. It’s pretty dull.
Gibson literally drops the reader into the middle of these conversations. There’s no exposition, no prologue, no lead up, nothing that gives us context about who anyone is or what they’re doing.
Issues 4 and 5 finally add in some nice horror visuals but it’s far too little too late. I didn’t care about any of the deaths in the book because I still have no idea who any of the characters are or why I should care. There was no development for any of them and Ripley is in a coma the whole time. She gets maybe two panels of page time in the whole series and she’s asleep.
What I remember loving about the first Alien movie is how suspenseful it is. It’s scary on that primal survival level. And then when you do see the alien the design is incredible. The deaths are graphic. It’s all about tension and visuals. This book had neither.
The beauty of a a horror graphic novel is that you have no constraints. You should be able to make it as gory, graphic, and over the top as you want. No need to worry about practical effects or CGI. Anything can be drawn! But for this book they chose to draw people sitting around conference tables.
The cover art, although beautiful…
…is misleading. Yet another case of a comic book that I should’ve just hung on my wall instead of reading it. Sigh.
If you are an Alien super-fan and have read this please let me know if you found it more interesting than I did! If you’re not an Alien super-fan you can probably pass on this one.
2/5 aliens 👽👽
For a better comic book in space check out Descender.
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Buy it here: William Gibson’s Alien 3 (Issues) (5 Book Series)