Written by: Matt Molgaard
A wonderfully interwoven tie-in to the original Alien series, Out of the Shadows operates as something of a direct sequel to the original film. Ripley is once more a crucial piece of the otherworldly puzzle while an old nemesis has made return as well. It’s a highly compelling approach that’s likely to appeal to hardcore franchise fans for numerous reasons, Ripley – of course – being the major gravitational component.
I’d really care to avoid delving too deep into details, as any Alien story that succeeds in a, entertaining and b, bolstering the original story is worth the shock and awe it delivers in its unsoiled essence. So I’m not going to soil this one. I will say this: Ripley has been floating in space for nearly forty years, sleeping deep and dreaming deeper… and darker. As it just so happens her vessel makes contact – direct, docking – with another, and suddenly an entire new fight is underway, with an entirely different crew facing the perils of the relentless and merciless aliens.
There’s obviously quite a bit more to the story (including some haunting dream sequences that involve Ridley and her daughter), but again… I just can’t bring myself to divulge too much more. It’s fast-paced. It also fits rather snug in the general context of the first film, despite the sizable gap in time between events on the Nostromo and those you’ll read of in the pages of Out of the Shadows. Ripley is still a bad ass, although time and a recurring state of terror have produced a few cracks in her armor, which leaves fellow bad ass, but very everyman, Hoop to take the reigns just as often as Ripley.
Tim Lebbon has been a terrific author from the jump, and he was the perfect man for this specific job. Lebbon’s care for words and attention to detail proves to be profoundly rewarding, as Alien: Out of the Shadows is the finest venture back into the world of the xenomorph since Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (which, in my opinion is only eclipsed by Alien and Aliens, despite the fact that I love the silly Alien vs. Predator). This is one of the finest – if not the finest film tie-ins I’ve read in years. And believe it or not, Out of the Shadows could well prove to be one of the year’s very best.