The Walking Dead: The Alien
Written by Brian K. Vaughn
Art by Marcos Martin
Review by John Dubrawa
Nearly one year ago at Image Expo, it was announced that Panel Syndicate–a pay-what-you-want online comic publication from writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Marcos Martin–would be creating a digital one-shot set in Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead universe. Naturally, this partnership raised all varieties of speculation over whether or not Vaughn and Martin’s contribution to the lore would directly impact canon or if it would simply exist in the fringes outside Kirkman’s world. Well, Vaughn and Martin’s The Alien has arrived and while the title suggests a foreign-driven narrative, the story hits surprisingly close to home for anyone invested in the The Walking Dead. This issue also happens to be a damn fine read as well even without its potential implications to the future of Kirkman’s beloved decade-long series.
Vaughn and Martin tell a relatively simplistic story in The Alien, all about a man named Jeff trapped by the undead in Barcelona and a woman named Claudia who helps to get him out of the country and back to the States. While it seems like I’ve given away all that Vaughn and Martin’s tale has to offer in its thirty-or-so pages, know that the thrill of reading this one-shot lies not necessarily with the bones of the plot but how the writing fills in the relationship that forms between the two characters in such a limited timeframe. Vaughn and Martin do not shy away from the xenophobic undertones of Kirkman’s work as well, showing how even other residents of other countries have to make difficult decisions in this issue’s opening panels in order to survive.
Martin’s artwork succeeds at depicting the typical brutality readers of The Walking Dead are use to but with a much simpler style than someone like series regular Charlie Allard. Don’t expect a ton of viscera or gore, though Martin does render some fairly heinous-looking undead creatures. Martin works almost entirely in black-and-white, keeping true to the precedence set by Allard’s artwork in the mainline series, though Martin does use one splash of color here (guess what color) to make a significant impact. His heavy inking toward the issue’s closing moments are particularly beautiful, or as beautiful as something within this universe can be at least.
BUY. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman himself has already stated that what Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin have created with The Alien is canon, so anyone at all interested in The Walking Dead lore should immediately hunt this one-shot down and consume it like an undead praying on a unsuspecting human victim. It’s also thirty-pages of story from two of the most inventive creators in comics for the price of literally any amount. Go on. Get this now.
Seriously, get The Walking Dead: The Alien right http://panelsyndicate.com/#twd_thealien” target=”_blank”>here.