Review: The Aliens #2

The Aliens #2 cover
Cover by Russ Manning

The Aliens #2
Published and © by Whitman (Western), June 1982

Title: “The Aliens”
Synopsis: Captain Johner’s hostile encounter with aliens leads to a crew exchange and – perhaps – a better understanding of each other.

Writer: Uncredited
Artist: Russ Manning

Review: The Aliens #2 is a tricky comic to grade. This volume of interconnected reprints from the early 1960s is a precursor to today’s collected editions, but it’s also a Silver Age comic masquerading as a Bronze Age offering. As such, the stories are overly simplistic and the characterization quite flat. Working in its favor is outstanding art by Russ Manning, though it often looks more like a Sunday strip than a comic book. Ahead of its time but already a relic by the time of this reprint, The Aliens would undoubtedly grade hire if this was Silver Age Minute.

Grade (for the entire issue): B-

Second opinion: “Manning’s art is, as always, impeccable, why his plots are thoughtful and intelligent.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

The Aliens #1 cover
The Aliens #2 is a reprint of this comic, 1967’s The Aliens #1, from Gold Key (Western).

Cool factor: Russ Manning’s line work is fantastic, particularly on the aliens.
Not-so-cool factor: The stories collected here don’t hold up well to the melodramatic, soap-opera style popular during the Bronze Age.

Notable: This comic reprints interconnected backup stories from Magnus, Robot Hunter #1, #3-4 and #6-10.
Collector’s note: This comic is a reprint of 1967’s The Aliens #1 with a recolored cover. … According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a white-Whitman-logo variant of this issue. 

Character quotable: “Fear of the unknown can be deadly to any civilization!” – Commander Zarz, leader of the alien’s exchange crew

Editor’s note: This review was written Nov. 7, 2021.

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