Script: Tom & Mary Bierbaum
Pencils: David Ross
Inks: Andrew Pepoy
Colours: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Sean Konot
Cover illustration: David Ross & Andrew Pepoy & David Stewart
An elite unit, equipped with new weapons, is tasked with cleansing a colony world over-run by Aliens.
Ok strap in, this turned out to be a big review, so where to begin? Plot-wise Xenogenesis does not offer much; but that shouldn’t really be an issue, it’s not like I’m reviewing Shakespeare with this blog, but Xenogenesis offers nothing more than ‘badass soldiers kill Aliens’. There is a side-story about a wayward member of the team being involved in an Alien hunt on another backwater colony, but in my opinion, this added nothing to the main story.
This really did not feel like an Aliens story to me, it’s a PG rated action comic with Aliens as baddies, just read some of the ridiculous dialogue, like ‘you acid drippin forsaken devils’.
The characters themselves are either: dull, clichéd or just stupid. For example the clichéd badass hot girl soldier feels the need to strip off her armour in the midst of battle! Why? What is it with these stories where the writers feel the need to have people fight Aliens in their underwear? It undermines the central concept of the seven foot Alien killing machine with acid blood, if you can blast it to bits whilst wearing your undies, it’s no longer threatening! Another character/plot point that I thought ridiculous was Xerxes, an apparently immortal warrior, who turns out to be genuinely immortal; wouldn’t a corporation be more interested in the secret of immortality?
The story opens with the first squad getting wiped out by a series of accidents and I get the feeling this plot device was to make us fear that anything could happen in the story. Well they were wrong, throughout I felt none of the characters were in any danger and the Aliens were simply not threatening at all.
Whilst reading this comic a major plot hole dawned on me. The ‘Juice’ spray which is used to kill the Aliens is a chemical weapon, Aliens can die through both direct and indirect contact, when there is enough concentrated in the air. Which begs the question why don’t they just ‘crop spray’ the planet and then just spray the stuff into the remaining hives? Admittedly this is not as thrilling but far more practical and effective. However, there were aspects of the story I liked or thought showed a little promise, such as the local colonists trying, and failing, to use advanced combat weapons in a bug hunt, but this was overshadowed by the rest of the action
Artwork is good, with both the action and Aliens are rendered well, but the aesthetic feel is all wrong, our heroes’ suits look like something straight out of a Marvel comic, more X-men than Colonial Marines and I really think this sums up who the target market was. There is no gore, no blood, not one of our heroes even sustains a minor cut or graze throughout the entire battle!
So in conclusion we essentially have a kiddie friendly Aliens comic; lots of bright colours and action, but no plot or characters. The best way I can describe it is imagine the Aliens film with the Marines replaced with X-Men, part of me hates typing that as I fear some executive may read it and think “Oh my god! That’s awesome!” and we end up being subjected to a film worse than one of those shitty AvP abominations. Essentially this story has been told before more effectively in the Aliens: Frenzy story, which I would recommend instead of this
As an epilogue, I thought I would add a bit about the history of this comic. As you may know from previous reviews I try not to delve into the history of stories, to try and retain some impartiality, but his story is quite infamous. Xenogenesis was part of a wider re-launch of the Aliens and Predator comics designed to re-boot and improve the respective franchises. It failed, badly. These were universally derided and effectively killed these franchises’ for almost a decade, and to be honest I’m not really surprised.