MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
The third issue of Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay picks up with both Weyland-Yutani Corporation and the U.P.P. in a race to exploit the xenmorph species to their benefit, while playing a political chess game regarding what knowledge the U.P.P. extracted from Bishop’s head while he was in their possession. The android is returned to Weyland-Yutani just as the corporation’s alien experiments begin to get out of control, forcing Hicks to consider drastic actions in order to keep Newt safe and stop “the company” from spreading the alien infestation even further than its already reached.
Since the beginning, the Alien franchise has flirted with the idea of “the company” acquiring the xenomorph species for their bio-weapons division, as well as the dangers of logical repercussions that would come from such an occurrence. Lacking the finality of director David Fincher’s theatrically released Alien 3, Gibson’s story boldly fires that extra-terrestrial Chekhov’s gun, and through the talented adaptation by Christma, Bonvillain, and Paikos, readers get a front row seat to the disastrous result of genetically weaponizing the xenomorph. Despite the fatalistic nature of the alien species reaching densely populated areas of civilization, the story still manages to keep a lighter tone than Fincher’s dark and nihilistic conclusion, instead feeling more like an extension of what Cameron established in the action-heavy thrill ride that was Aliens. The return of fan-favorite Bishop in a more active role will surely make this issue for many, and there are also a number of well-crafted callbacks to the “heart” of the previous film, especially one well-placed “Affirmative” from little Rebecca Jordan.
- Christmas and Bonvillain continue to deliver outstanding covers with each issue. This month’s may be more simplistic in concept, but that doesn’t stop it from being a powerful, eye-catching image that will make you do a double-take, even when stacked on the comic shop shelf between Batman and X-Men.
- The first scene of this issue features some interesting dialogue, visuals, and themes given where the Alien franchise has ended up, since Gibson finished his initial script back in the early '90s. Most interesting is the confirmation by the researchers that the xenomorph is, in fact, a weapon and potentially “the end of someone else’s arm race.” Obviously, both the idea of genetically manipulating and cloning the xenomorph and its existence as a weapon created by an ancient extra-terrestrial race have been kicked around from some time, with pieces and elements ending up in films like Alien: Resurrection, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant. The implication that whoever created the xenomorph may have perished as a species because of it is also an interesting and ominous warning to the human race that has been visited before in the Alien mythos.
- Wow, does the cover of issue #4 looks truly nightmarish. Those who’ve read Gibson’s screenplay before know where this is heading and, honestly, I can’t think of a better visual representation. Those readers who are unspoiled… well, let’s just say that I can’t lie to you about your chances, but you have my sympathies.
Final Verdict: As fans might have expected, this series is easily shaping into one of the most thrilling and unique things they’ve tackled with the Alien franchise. Whether readers loved or hated the final Alien 3 film, Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay is a fascinating and exhilarating Elseworlds-style story that will cause any fan to occasionally pause while reading and imagine what could have been in another time or place.
Comics Creative Team: Story - William Gibson; Adaptation Script and Art – Johnnie Christmas; Color Art – Tamra Bonvillain; Letters – Nate Paikos of Blambot;
Cover: Johnnie Christmas with Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Cover: Danial Warren Johnson with Mike Spicer
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Click here to purchase.
Also, be sure to read my reviews of issues #1 and #2 of Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay:
‘Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay #1’ - Advance Comic Book Review (You Down With UPP - Yeah, You Know Me)
‘Alien 3: The Unproduced Screenplay #2’ - Advance Comic Book Review (The Survivors Would Envy the Dead)