Aliens: Defiance #2 immediately retains the best thing about the first issue, it is incredibly cinematic. It feels almost as if you’re reading genuine storyboards for an Alien sequel and—more than that—actually almost feels as if you’re watching one at times. It’s one of the best uses I’ve seen of the newer style of introducing the credits through the early scenes of the issue, much like a film would do it.
On the whole, it succeeds very much on a visual level. The art by Tristan Jones is not only stunning on its own, but it perfectly fits the tone of the story. And that’s something that’s harder to do in comics than most people think. There’s a sense of melancholy, of hardship, and a certain bleakness in tone that the comic embodies very well.
The truest strength, of course, lies in the story. Hendricks continues to be a great character who gives us everything we want from that Ripley archetype while being a very, very different character from Ripley at the same time. She’s a marine who had to work incredibly hard to get to the top and was just thrown back to the bottom once she got there.
This is fantastically depicted at the end of the issue, when Hendricks is monologuing about how hard she has to push herself and how much she has to prove, and then right at the end it cuts to a full page shot of their ship in the midst of blank, dark, empty space. There’s nobody out there. There’s really no one left for her to prove herself to.
When you look at it like that, it begins to look as though Hendricks is keeping this mentality for two reasons. One, when she’s had to have it so long just to be taken remotely seriously as a marine, it’s a hard thing to even try to shed. Two, it’s a defense mechanism. In the sense that it keeps her from fully trusting the Davis androids because she’s not sure if they think she’s capable of doing anything. More than that, it’s a defense mechanism for herself and against herself. She keeps reminding herself how strong she is because of how much she’s gotten herself through, already. Telling herself this over and over again is one way of simply staying alive and keeping herself from giving up.
I think it’s great that I can speculate on the character’s motivations this much after only the second issue. With that in mind, I think it’s fairly easy to say that Aliens: Defiance is one of the best Aliens comics to come around in quite a while.
WICKED RATING: 7.5/10