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Marvel's Alien Series Confirms the Xenomorphs' Only True Weakness

Warning: spoilers ahead for Alien #4! 

Even a hell-spawned killing machine like the Alien franchise’s Xenomorph has one weakness, and it’s turning out to be one fans have suspected for a long time. With Marvel’s new comic series Alien (also called Alien: Bloodlines) underway, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Superman, The Last God) with art by Salvador Larocca (X-Men, Doctor Doom), protagonist Gabriel Cruz is up to his neck in Xenomorphs. But while death may still be close at hand, it appears he and his evil employers at Weyland-Yutani have an ace up their sleeve which might be exploited to put an end to the intergalactic menace once and for all: synthetics.

Spinning out of a failed theft by the terrorist organization known as the Minute Hand Movement, a new Xenomorph outbreak occurs on the Weyland-Yutani-run Epsilon Orbital Research and Development Station, causing Cruz to be called back into action following his retirement as security chief for the space station in order to save a valuable alien embryo. While searching for his son, Danny, one of the terrorists who caused the outbreak, Cruz encounters a Bishop-model synthetic, or android, who appears to be one of the last remaining survivors aboard the station. And it is there that the android tells him an important detail which might spell the end of the dreaded alien blight.

Related: Marvel's Alien Comics Just Explained The Xenomorphs' Secret Ability

Taking place in the pages of Alien #4, Colonial Marine Hamilton, one of two soldiers assigned to Cruz (following Cruz’s request for five battle-synthetics instead) asks how the android Bishop survived. Now armed with a flamethrower, Bishop remarks that “the aliens seem not to notice synthetics until they decide we’re a threat.” While this throwaway line might seem like a convenient explanation for Bishop's presence, it actually brings a heavily debated aspect of Xenomorph lore into Marvel's burgeoning canon, presenting an effective strategy for combating future alien outbreaks.

There have been numerous occasions in the Alien franchise, including in the films Aliens and Alien: Covenant, where synthetics have been placed in situations which should have resulted in their being torn asunder by hordes of ravenous Xenomorphs, but have instead been ignored. Lance Bishop of the 1986 film Aliens journeyed several miles through Xenomorph-infested territory to reach the means of retrieving a dropship for the main crew to escape the colony of Hadley’s Hope, and the android David lived through similar conditions in the 2017 film Alien: Covenant. The videogame Alien: Isolation also featured situations where Xenomorphs would conspicuously ignore androids, and Dark Horse's handling of the Alien franchise included some instances where Xenomorphs surprisingly spared synthetic characters (and many others where they didn't.)

Several reasons for this immunity to alien attention have been suggested, ranging from the Xenomorphs' ability to detect pheromones to androids being able to become perfectly still and lifeless, but with Marvel's recent acquisition of the rights to publish Alien comics, it was unclear what elements of Xenomorph lore and history would be present, and how others might be changed. Happily, Alien #4 confirms this unusual Xenomorph weakness, though synthetic immunity is not total, as the Epsilon Bishop finds out later in the issue when he is grievously eviscerated by a stray Xenomorph, perhaps due to his proximity to organic humans. Thankfully, Marvel has chosen to embrace the one weakness that might help future protagonists outsmart their Xenomorph enemies, remaining true to Alien by making it clear that even this slight advantage can't be counted on in every situation.

Next: Alien: The Disturbing Reason Ash Uses A Magazine During Ripley's Attempted Murder

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