After enduring all the dreadful events that occurred to her after the release of the Rage virus, we now find Selena somewhat safely ensconced in a Norwegian refugee camp. One might think that the absolute last thing she would consider would be a return trip to the British mainland but a conversation with a with a crusading journalist convinces her to do exactly that. The other members of the expeditionary force seem to regard her as more of a hindrance than an important part of the team but she soon shows her truth worth when they all come brutally face to face with some of the Infected humans.
Through absolutely no fault of her own, this woman was thrown into a nightmarish situation and faced a deadly enemy that was mind-chillingly horrific and almost unstoppable by any normal means. When her co-workers and friends began to be individually killed off by this insidious enemy, she still managed to survive. Through a combination of intelligence, tenacity, bravery and a little luck she not only managed to make her own escape but was also able to rescue another young woman who had also been trapped in the same hellish situation. Of course the person that I am now describing is Ellen Ripley!
Now I donâ€™t know if the character of Selena was ever supposed to be aware of the â€˜Aliensâ€™ heroine but as the previous paragraph shows both women have a lot in common, the least of which is survivor guilt. As this comic opens Selena is sitting morosely on a camp bed, having flashbacks to the terrible events of recent times and feeling sorry for herself. Just like Ripley, it takes the intervention of outside force to give her the strength to get out of her fugue state and launch herself back into life. There are no shortage of people who manage to escape from a dangerous situation because after all the fight or flight response is built into our DNA but it takes a certain kind of person to return to place where the subjectively went through Hell. Its called a heroic personality. This newfound fortitude allows Selena to step up to the plate and guide an group of reporters, who are fed up with being fed strongly censored military press releases, back to England. While reading through this comic we know as readers that eventually there will be an attack by people struck down by the Rage pathogen and when it arrives near the end of the issue, it shows us that Selena has switched back into her warrior mode.
Its no secret that licensed comics based on popular film and television properties are notoriously very difficult to successfully pull off. If the creative team do a bad job they get unfairly compared to the first production crew and asked why their output couldnâ€™t have been more like the style of the original concoction. On the other hand, if the creative team do a good job then it isnâ€™t perceived as being totally their own real success because the prototypal concept was so strong that nobody could ever mess it up. They just cant win! However there is a middle road to be taken and the creatives assigned to this project needed to successfully navigate along it if the property patent was to be safe in their collective hands. What the fans of the franchise, who read this book, need to see is that this new tale is not going to be a retread of what they have enjoyed before. It must have a strong link with what they previously loved but it must also move the core concept forward in an important and hopefully interesting way. On this project there was also the added burden that if the readers also have knowledge of the film sequel, then there are several future plot threads from it that must be followed or at least alluded to in the script. Were Mr Nelson and Mr Shalvey up to this task? Yes I personally think they were.
Michael Alan Nelson has tried his hand at abomination stories before and pulled it off rather successfully with his â€˜Fall of Cthulhuâ€™ tale. He knows the strong beats that are required in pacing and plot to pull the reader into the tale and keep their interest up until the final page. Another important part of this particular story is being able to write the action from a female protagonists point of view. Nelson has already made the grade on that score previously with the very impressive â€˜Hexedâ€™ miniseries and in here he successfully manages to capture the inner strength that the actress, Naomie Harris, imbued Selena with. This character may be troubled by inner horrors but she has no trouble killing the horrors that are trying to attack her. A further strong point in the story is that all the secondary characters are believable people and more importantly they actually talk like real human beings.
Declan Shalvey has also previously had a go at abomination stories and he pulled it off rather successfully in a recent comics adaptation of â€˜Frankensteinâ€™. That previous tale showed off his strong use of black bordering and strong silhouettes in his style and this new tale continues those themes. On some panels itâ€™s as if he started with a totally black page and then just drew on some white sections to highlight whatever action he was trying to portray. The whole thing helps to maintain the air of menace which is vital to a story like this and when we finally get to the Infected attack sequence the reader is not at all disappointed with what Declan depicts. There is gore aplenty and the action is deftly handled. This is an endeavour that needed an artist that could handle a range of themes and Shalvey doesnâ€™t disappoint.
In the interest of fairness, it must be pointed out that some readers are also going to be a bit lost here if they have absolutely no knowledge of the original â€˜28 Days Laterâ€™ movie but this is not a totally fatal flaw for the book. There is enough expositionary dialogue to bring everyone up at least up to date and then move forward to enjoy the rest of this mini-series. There is also plenty of strong ongoing action to let them enjoy this individual issue and want to come back for more and as an coincidental information point that it will be 28 days before the next issue is published.
I have absolutely no knowledge of how this story is going to finish but I just hope that Selena doesnâ€™t end up sharing the same fate as Ripley. I want her to be still be around for the as yet untoldÂ â€˜28 Months Laterâ€™ tale. This absorbing Boom! Studios book gets three stars from me.