Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Julius Ohta
Colorist: Yen Nitro
Cover Artist: Björn Barends
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Steel Team is in over their heads. They were sent on a supposedly simple mission but there was just one complication after another. Alien Xenomorphs, Humans surviving in an irradiated world. And now they’ve been betrayed by those same humans and are locked in with an Alien Queen no less. Read Alien #4 to see what Steel Team does to escape death with their lives.
The issue picks up in more ways than one as things escalate. So, the issue starts with Steel Team taking on a small force of Xenomorphs and an Alien Queen no less. The action, tension, and drama is there as Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Julius Ohta deliver a solid story where the characters have to fight for their lives. But don’t be fooled, the story for this comic doesn’t stop there. There are all kinds of developments in this story that build upon what came before and take it all to the next level.
I’ll say this, if you’re expecting the comic to be just how Steel Team makes it out of there, you will be disappointed but the comic provides you with more. It directly picks up on all of the setup from the previous issue with the scavengers, or scavs as they’re called by Steel Team, from the big betrayal to another moment with a particular scavenger that met with Eli. This comic delivers payoff for all of these things while also setting up the stakes and conflict for the very next issue.
When it comes to the art, Julius Ohta and Yen Nitro just kill it again in this comic. Each issue continues to show more and more of their work, almost as if they were improving with each new issue. Ohta’s art allows for exceptionally dynamic combat, movement, and lets the characters show all kinds of facial expressions. Compared to Salvador Larroca’s art in the previous Alien series, this lacks all of the static images and awkward moments and weird facial expressions for the better. Nothing against Larroca’s art, it just lends itself more to monsters, machines, and non-human looking characters.
Now, there is one development that keeps this reviewer from fully praising this comic is what happens with the scavenger Eli talked to who was unwittingly infected by an alien insect. I won’t spoil what exactly happens but it’s something that leads directly into the next issue and sets the stage for what Steel Team will be up against. That said, most Alien fans will be familiar with this idea and will not be shocked nor too wowed by it as it’s nothing they’ve never seen before. But what’s important is to see how the idea is executed in this series. This reviewer is still skeptical, but perhaps Phillip Kennedy Johnson can surprise us and he and Julius Ohta can pull it off.
Alien #4 continues where the last issue left off with Steel Team facing off against the Xenomorph Alien Queen. The art, dialogue, pacing, and overall momentum of the comic’s story continues to get better after the last issue. Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Julius Ohta, and Yen Nitro really take it up a notch for this issue while seamlessly setting the stage for the next issue.