Hello, my friends. The haunting chill in the air continues to grow and it’s about to reach its frigid peak. While it may not get as cold as outer space, it’ll still pack as much terror as the familiar creatures that’re looking to strike. On that note, I welcome you back to…
As for what William Gibson has brought to us thus far, the Sulaco has arrived at Anchorpoint as Ellen Ripley got knocked out and fell into a coma. Meanwhile, Weyland-Utani and the Union of Progressive Peoples have been looking to turn the familiar aliens into their own weaponized creatures, especially since they’re looking to take some existing embryos and clone them. However, one of them on the space station called the Rodina and another that was hiding out within a busted afterburner that’s been brought onto Anchorpoint are now on the deadly prowl. Thankfully, Newt has been sent back to Earth in order to live with her grandparents before it all went down. Nowadays, Hicks has teamed up with a scientist and a few others in order to usurp this corrupt business plan, unaware of the alien menace that awaits them.
Published in February 2019, this penultimate chapter would initially go on to sell 13,006 copies upon its release. Now that our familiar creatures are on the loose, what will Dwayne and company come across during their upcoming struggle? Let’s take some caution and find out.
Issue 4 begins within Anchorpoint’s lunch hall as Fox meets up with Walker before they talk about the major overhaul done with the Sulaco. Walker says that the cooler-grid was the most annoying thing to deal with, yet Fox reminds him that a new one is in place in order for said spaceship to properly depart. Walker then says that putting in the new one was easy, yet the old and damaged one was a pain to remove. Not only that, but he brought it into the dock. Stunned by that revelation, Fox hurried takes his leave. Meanwhile, Bishop is met upon by Hicks, Spence and Halliday as he’s informed that they have to destroy the alien embryos. He then tells them that they shouldn’t have come here, since he was going to do exactly that and take the sole blame. As such, they proceed to carry out their mission as the embryos get wiped out.
By the time that Welles & Fox (who have Rosetti alongside them) notice, it’s too late as Welles tries to attack Spence. Fortunately, Spence blocks her attack and hits her while Frank commends her for her action. As Welles tells her that she’ll pay for this, she suddenly begins to mutate all around before she begins to rip apart from the inside-out as a fully-grown Xenomorph emerges. From there, it proceeds to mutilate Rosetti in front of our group before dragging him away. Realizing that Tully found himself in the same situation as Welles, Spence then says that they have to find him.
However, Fox overheard her from the main hub via security camera as he uses a blaster to destroy the computer console while Jackson is forced to take cover. Meanwhile, Spence reaches her sleeping chamber before she discovers a video recording that Tully left her. In it, he says that something’s happening to him due to his security badge turning red. Meanwhile, Dwayne manages to recover Ellen and the map that was left for her. From there, he places her within a hypersleep chamber that’s on a lifeboat and launches her to safety. Afterwards, they meet up with Bishop who tells them to follow him since he’s summoned the rest of their group over to operations. Meanwhile, Spence continues to listen to Tully’s message as she learns about the lab accident and that he got exposed to the alien embryo. As such, he locks himself in Locker AG-28. Once she opens it up, she discovers that it’s in a deep freeze before she discovers that he sacrificed himself in order to prevent a Xenomorph from emerging from his body.
Meanwhile on the U.P.P.-owned space station known as the Rodina, a female worker named Chang (who helped previously return Bishop to Anchorpoint) sings a mournful song in Chinese to a fallen comrade. From there, she makes her way into a central chamber that’s been turned into a makeshift alien nest where loads of her comrades have been captured, including the two remaining executives that turn out to be Nevsky and Rivera. Back over on Anchorpoint, Fox reaches a spacecraft within the docking bay and boards it. However, he notices that it’s been turned into an alien nest and that a worker has been used as a host for another creature. From there, he gets mutilated off-panel from a Xenomorph.
Back with our main group, they arrive in the remains of the main operational room as Jackson tells them that Fox caused all of this before Tatsumi discovers that they’re now unable to contact any outside station or spacecraft. Not only that, but it’ll take him three days to patch his way around it. He also mentions that four lifeboats were rendered unusable after the fifth one was launched, to which Hicks says that he used that spacecraft to help Ripley escape. Bishop says that Fox purposefully damaged the other spaceships in order to prevent anyone from leaving before he asks when the next spacecraft is scheduled to arrive here, to which Jackson says that a Colonial Admin Transport is set to arrive here in three days in order to make a fuel stop. He also adds that it’s carrying 300 colonists within hyper sleep chambers before he receives a transmission from the Socialist Space Brothers. The group then learns from Tatjana Malik that her group has undergone the experiments containing the genetic material that was retrieved from the Sulaco and that they attempted to clone a Xenomorph within a nutrient solution. Late in their experiment, they attempted to modify its genetic structure, only for it to become a variant form. She then warns them that they must destroy any experiment containing the material since it can’t be contained. After the transmission cuts out, Jackson says that a communication containing military code has came out of the Rodina as a high-end vessel called the Stoiko has arrived. Back inside the Rodina, Chang runs away from a pursuing Xenomorph before she manages to get on board a spacecraft. Even though the alien is able to initially reach her, she’s able to blast off in time and causes it to drift out into space. It turns out that it all happened in the nick of time as the Stoiko blows the space station up. Back over on Anchorpoint, our main group manage to hear about it. From there, Walker contacts them about the spacecraft that Fox locked himself in and how its air-scrubber is covered “with some kind of gunk”. As such, Jackson tells him to get up to his position. Meanwhile, Halliday returns with Spence as the latter tells the group that Tully has sacrificed himself within a deep-freeze in order to prevent a Xenomorph from emerging from his body. Dwayne then asks if there’s any place on this space station that contains weapons, but Halliday says that there aren’t any due to this being a non-military project. Fortunately, Tatsumi knows how to help him as he takes him to the morgue and shows a corpse that had a gauntlet containing its own equipped firearm.
Back in the main operations room, Spence wants them to blow the whole station up in order to be entirely sure that none of the onboard Xenomorphs survive. However, Walker reminds them that the Kansas City is arriving in less than three days and they can help them escape. Bishop argues that all of the resting colonists on board there are unaware of the vicious aliens within the space station, to which Halliday agrees as they all may not last those entire three days and that the Kansas City would be unaware of the danger that they’re flying towards since they can’t contact them. As such, she agrees in blowing the space station up. Jackson then asks how they’re going to get out since all of the present lifeboats are inoperable and that the Weyland-Utani shuttle is also unable to take off as well. Bishop then asks if the Kansas City has enough fuel to return to his point of departure, to which Jackson says that it is if they’re able to reach within “pick-up range of New Brisbane”. Bishop then says that if they can get outside of the blast range with enough oxygen, then they can get saved. Walker then asks about the blast range, to which Bishop says that Anchorpoint has a fusion reactor and that they have to overcome its overrides. Spencer then realizes that they can load up a truck with some spare oxygen bottles in order to get outside of the blast range before they wait for the Kansas City to arrive. Afterwards, Hicks returns with the inbuilt AK-104 suit gun and says that he has a limited amount of ammunition with it. Jackson then informs him that they’re going to blow up the space station and that Bishop will be overloading its fusion reactor. Dwayne says that he’ll accompany Bishop before Jackson warns them that an uncontrollable fire is raging within the lifeboat bay. From there, Bishop says that he’ll program the fusion package to blow up after 90 minutes before they set out on their mission. Meanwhile, Halliday reaches the garden sanctuary in order to retrieve all of the animals. Unfortunately, they’ve all been slaughtered before she’s met upon by a mutated Xenomorph. She tries to run away before she gets tackled into the lake as Hicks & Spence arrive too late. With the alien ripping Halliday apart, Issue 4 ends with Dwayne firing away at the creature.
Overall, this penultimate chapter has recaptured some of the franchise’s signature terror. With our main group and the Xenomorphs putting a permanent end to this business-minded scheme (as well as the latter taking the corporate figures off the board for good), it’s now set things up for it to be a race for survival. This issue gets supported by some good artwork, nice chills and thrilling pacing in order to make this race to get out alive while also dealing with the new kind of Xenomorph have the potential to be a tense and engaging climax. So, will Hicks and company be able to evacuate in one piece and finally vanquish the alien menace once & for all or will there be some further bloodshed en route to the finish line? Come back next time as we conclude William Gibson’s intended tale and I give my thoughts on the story as a whole. Until then, stay comfortable within your nest while you hatch up some harrowing thrills.
Alien (created by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett) is owned by the Walt Disney Company.