New ALIENS Comic Revives Paul Reiser’s Villainous Carter Burke

Marvel’s ALIENS: WHAT IF…? will reveal what happened to Carter after the events of the 1987 classic.

By Ryan Scott · @RyanScottWrites · January 26, 2024, 6:06 PM EST
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Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

As far as horror villains go, it’s hard to find one more roundly hated than Carter Burke. Played by Paul Reiser in the 1987 sci-fi/horror classic Aliens, the Weyland Yutani Corporation company man led Ripley and a whole squad of Colonial Marines to their doom for the good of the rich people he works for - no matter what the cost. In the end, justice was served as Carter died at the hands of the Xenomorphs. Or did he? That’s precisely the question being asked by Marvel Comics in a brand new miniseries titled Aliens: What If…?

Much like the What If…? comics that, for decades, have asked alternate reality questions about the fates of various superheroes, this new five-issue series will look at what would happen if Carter Burke had lived. What’s more, Paul Reiser is directly involved as one of the writers of the series alongside his son, Leon Reiser. The A-list assembly of scribes also includes Adam F. Goldberg (The Goldbergs), Brian Volk-Weiss (The Toys That Made Us) and Hans Rodionoff (Damage Control). The synopsis for the book reads as follows:

“For years, fans of James Cameron’s legendary Aliens questioned whether Carter Burke, a company man more hateable than the Xenos themselves, had actually survived the traumatic events on the terraforming colony Hadley’s Hope. Thirty-five years later, Burke is eeking out a cursed existence on a backwater asteroid. With his once-promising career in the toilet, Burke's only remaining purpose in life is to care for his daughter, Brie. She hates him, probably for being a horrible person. And when she finds out what he’s up to now? It’s not going to be a friendly reunion. Has Burke learned his lesson, or is he about to get all of his companions killed again?”


Marvel revealed the cover art for the first two issues. You can check out the art for issue #1 above and issue #2 below. Both covers were cooked up by artist Phil Noto. Guiu Vilanova (Eternals, Cosmic Ghost Rider) is handling the internal artwork for the series. Speaking about the opportunity to revisit this character all these years later, Reiser indicated that, perhaps, Cartuer Burke is not as much of an overt asshole as he may have seemed.

"For years, people have asked me about Burke, what it was like to play such a 'bad guy,' to which my response was always 'You say 'bad,' I say 'misunderstood.' Now the world will find out!"

Aliens: What If…? #1 hits shelves on March 6.