In Aliens: Defiance, Episode 3: Mutiny, we see a second mutiny aboard the Europa. While Davis-01 is tending to Hendricks’ injuries, the rest of the Davises forgo their new mission and reactivate the Europa’s “nearfield.” Weyland-Yutani uses the ship’s local network to remotely reprogram the synthetics and issues the directive to kill Hendricks and Davis-01 and to return to the original mission.
In Aliens: Defiance, Episode 4: Casualties, we learn that the only two survivors of this second mutiny are Davis-01 and PFC Hendricks. When Weyland-Yutani transmitted new orders for the Davises via the nearfield network, personal communications for Hendricks were also transmitted.
A couple official messages confirm what Hendricks already suspects, she’s been tried in absentia and has been found AWOL. There’s also a message from Hendricks’ personal doctor, claiming there’s a loophole that would allow Hendricks to return to Lunar Base: Tranquility as a medical patient and not face any of her criminal sentence.
Hendricks must decide who to trust, and quickly. Dr. Emi Yang offers an attractive option, if it isn’t a ploy on behalf of the Colonial Marines to trap Hendricks should she step foot back on Lunar Base: Tranquility. Davis-01 may not be all he seems. He claims to have reprogrammed himself to be completely immune to the influence of Weyland-Yutani, but his actions when he’s alone suggest that may not be the case.
This is possibly the most interesting chapter yet, and there are no (living) Xenomorphs to be found. Brian Wood serves up a lot more of Zula Hendricks’ backstory in Episode 4. We get to see the battle where Zula sustained her injury, the awful way she was treated by her superiors after being the sole survivor of her first firefight, and the weight of her survivor’s guilt. The issue is a little heavy on exposition and light on action, but it feels like a natural transition. We got to know our protagonist a little in the first three chapters, but this chapter really sets the hook and makes us care about her.
Aliens: Defiance, Episode 4: Casualties, Dark Horse Comics, released August 31, 2016, written by Brian Wood, art by Tony Brescini, colors by Dan Jackson, letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot, cover by Massimo Carnevale, $3.59
Review by Brendan Allen.