Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Chris Wildgoose
Colorist: André May
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Chris Wildgoose
Variant Cover Artist: Christian Ward
After her own horrific and emotional journey down memory lane through Chip, Samantha tries to move on by doing right by the creature in a way she couldn’t for her own child. However, when an argument with Samuel lands the alien under Samir’s watch, it seems that things might be going dangerously sideways. As Samir seeks to use chip as a tool for vengeance, the curtain drops, uncovering the pain he’s dealt with his whole life. Can Samantha save Samir from his own undoing before Chip causes further harm?
It would be a massive undercut to say that Alienated is just “weird.” If anything, it’s unlike any comic I’ve read before. The tone and themes are very familiar, but using a telepathic reality-bending alien as the storytelling device is really interesting. Without a doubt, it’s the absolute most fascinating part of this entire series. The plot and themes are very fascinating, and as someone from the generation this comic is representing, I definitely feel these messages on a deeper level. However, something has kind of been itching in the back of my mind while reading these issues. There’s been a strange use of hot-button controversial topics throughout this book, and #4 continues that trend ten-fold.
To start off, it would be a massive understatement if I just said that the art was “good.” Wildgoose’s illustrations are creative and absolutely breathtaking, with May’s colors breathing a never-ending amount of life into them. I’m thoroughly impressed at how they keep managing to make Chip’s design more and more ethereal, as if there’s no way to really pin him down as a solid form. It makes what he truly could be more terrifying in the back of my mind, and I anxiously anticipate the last two issues to see more of him. Also, the sequences within the mindscape (that’s what I’m calling it, I guess) are downright stunning, seemingly getting crazier and crazier the more this series goes on. I genuinely can’t wait to see what these two have cooked up for the next issue.
The Sams continue to amaze me as characters, as I’m having a really hard time deciding whether I like them or not. For every positive and likable trait they have, there’s an equal negative trait that goes along with it, and it makes the story all the more unsettling and unpredictable as to where it could go. You never truly know what they’re capable of, and that’s highlighted here in this issue. While we had some inkling as to his own deep-rooted issues and pain, this issue completely shows what Samir’s been dealing with, and it’s downright jarring and uneasy to read. The versatility of these characters makes this book so much more interesting, and I have no clue what could even happen next.
Now we get to the very controversial stuff. First off, I do wanna say that this series is incredibly well-written, and Spurrier has a clear vision for where he’s taking this story. The topics he deals with are eons better-written here than in something like, say, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. They aren’t the whole points of the book, and they aren’t done excessively. However, there is something that just feels off about their placement and/or usage in the story. Leon’s whole character, Samantha’s teen pregnancy, and now the issue at hand in this part (which I won’t spoil) feel like they’re toeing the line of being exploitative. Maybe I’m just more sensitive to these topics, but something about them rubs me the wrong way. It doesn’t lessen the overall story, as I really do love it, but it does make me somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s the intention, though.
Overall, I thought this was a fascinating chapter in the story of Alienated. Each issue has me growing more and more attached to these characters and their stories, and it genuinely makes me feel uneasy. This is one of those stories where I have absolutely no clue what’s going to happen next, and it both excites and terrifies me. The wait for next month’s issue is going to be a long one, but I have a feeling that things will only get crazier from here.