From sequels and prequels to extended lore through a number of different mediums, the Alien franchise is a vast landscape of Sci-Fi greatness–though there is one controversial choice the series simply cannot escape from no matter the storyline, one that stretches all the way back to Alien’s first installment.
In 1979’s Alien–the first in the franchise–a team of space travelers, who were essentially cosmic truckers, were carrying a massive refinery for processing ore from a far-off world back to Earth. While on this long mission, the crew receives a distress signal from an unknown world, and per company policy, they are obligated to check it out. This detour leads to one of their own being impregnated by a Facehugger and putting everyone in danger of a Xenomorph attack. In fact, most of the crew is murdered by the alien life form–something that the company, Weyland-Yutani, knew might happen. While it seemed random that the Nostromo would get a distress signal, it was actually all part of the company’s plan. Weyland-Yutani knew the Xenomorph was out there, and they needed an expendable crew to bring it back to Earth–and in order to ensure that happened, the company planted a spy on the crew, a synthetic named Ash, who arguably proved to be a greater villain in the movie than even the Xenomorph itself.
In Alien #5 by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Julius Ohta, the human survivors of Tobler-9 are under attack by a horde of Xenomorphs after a newly-mutated human/Xenomorph hybrid led them there, evidently retaining enough brain function to accurately locate her former base for her new Xenomorph brethren. Once the aliens get there, it is an absolute bloodbath. People are being torn apart, children hide in vain only to be found by a sharp-toothed, chitinous creature moments later, and no weapons are enough to stop the seemingly endless horde. However, when Steel Team arrives, the tide begins to turn. Steel Team is a covert-op team of synthetics who were sent to Tobler-9 to extract a sample of a specific Xenomorph strain for the United Systems Government. Previously, the humans betrayed Steel Team and left them for dead inside a Xenomorph hive, which resulted in the deaths of some of their teammates. Lucky for the humans, at least one of the Steel Team members had enough forgiveness and empathy within herself to save the life of at least one human child–which is more than can be said for her partner.
After one of the members of Steel Team saves the life of this boy, her partner suddenly can’t stand the sight of him and throws the boy into a Xenomorph pit–effectively throwing the child to his death. This is a fairly common trope in the Alien universe, and one that the series can evidently never fully get away from. Even in this comic, where the synthetics are literally the main characters/heroes of the story, there is still one that holds a murderous disdain for humans. This trait is linked back to the earliest chapters in Alien lore, both in terms of in-world continuity and film releases. One of the first synthetics, David, betrayed the humans he was designed to help in the name of science and superiority over his creators. Then, Ash turned on the humans per his programming–though it was clear there were real feelings of admiration for the alien creature he was ordered to protect, leaving little more than disdain for the humans he was told were expendable.
Essentially, this newest addition to the Alien mythos only continues the long-standing trope of synthetics being the villains–and in a book where they are the primary protagonists, it is even more pronounced, which all but confirms that the series can never escape this one ever-present (and arguably controversial) cliché.
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