The Walking Dead universe rises from the grave again, this time with the one-shot The Walking Dead: The Alien. While technically not a new entry to the series (the digital version was released on Panel Syndicate back in 2016, and under a name your price model), the side story is generating buzz again thanks to it finally receiving a wide print release in early August. What sets The Walking Dead: The Alien apart from other entries in the series is that it is the only canon Walking Dead comic which was not created by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard– rather, The Alien was written by Brian K. Vaughan (of Saga fame) and illustrated by Marcos Martin, whose previous titles include The Private Eye and Doctor Strange.

The Alien follows newcomer Jeff, who is saved from a walker attack by Claudia, a knight on a shining moped with plans to escape Barcelona and travel to the United States in search of a rumored cure for the zombie outbreak. Claudia quickly enlists Jeff’s help, primarily because escape will require the use of the stranded American’s flashlight, and from there the duo must fight their way off the mainland.

I’ll warn you that even though the book has been out for a few years, spoilers will absolutely take the punch out of this one. You won’t find spoilers here, and chances are that if you’re a die-hard fan of the series you already know the twist connection between The Alien and the mainline books, but if you aren’t familiar be sure to pick it up cold. Having not interacted with the comics in quite some time, I still found the twist effective and rewarding for such a quick read.

Given the fact that this is a single standalone issue your mileage may vary– this isn’t a long or deeply developed story, it’s a bite-sized glimpse into what the zombie apocalypse looked like outside of the United States in the Walking Dead universe. The writing is snappy and to the point, and the art is a clean but somewhat simplified take on the existing material. It’s different enough that it doesn’t feel like an attempt to copy the main series, and it’s definitely worthy of its little corner in the larger story. If you’re looking for a fast read or need more of The Walking Dead in your life give The Walking Dead: The Alien a look.

Rating 8 out of 10 Halberds