"Aliens: Fire and Stone #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Chris Roberson
Illustrated by Patric Reynolds
2014, 24 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on September 24th, 2014
There are many fierce predators in the world of science fiction, but few are as tailor made for killing as Aliens. These bloodthirsty beasts move quickly and silently, taking out their prey in efficient ways. If one of them is struck down by a foe, it has the last laugh with its acidic blood. Imagine the terror on the mining colony of LV-426 when the workers experience a xenomorph outbreak. The place is overrun in minutes and the survivors are left with little choice but to seek refuge on a nearby planet.
This safe haven may look familiar to eagle-eyed readers. It's the same setting as the Prometheus film and the recent comic. Dark Horse is building an epic crossover between multiple sci-fi / horror franchises, including Aliens, Prometheus, and Predator. The events of this book occur before the Prometheus comic, but the location is the same. These survivors trudge through the same jungle that the other crew will eventually find themselves exploring. Each group will be doing so for very different reasons.
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While Prometheus: Fire and Stone had a slow build up to the scares, Aliens jumps right into it. There is action and terror from page one. The Aliens are attacking and they are all over the place. No explanation is given as to where they came from or why they're here. That doesn't matter when they're trying to tear your face off. You almost feel bad for these folks, as there is clearly little to no hope of them surviving this onslaught. They limp away from the colony to make it to the other planet, but realistically they're going to need a lot of luck to get out of this alive.
Although you don't learn much about the human characters with this issue, there are some great emotional beats. What takes the cake is a moment where one character wakes up after being knocked unconscious only to realize he's too late to prevent a horrible mistake. It was something he should have caught and could have prevented, but now there's blood on his hands. This feeling of guilt is palpable for the remainder of the issue as this guy comes to grips with what he is ultimately responsible for.
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Patric Reynolds' artwork is a little rough around the edges. His pencils are loose, which sometimes results in a sketch-like appearance. He nails the horrific nature of the Aliens with a sleek design. There's a great panel early on where an Alien bites into the back of a guy's head and then pulls back to scream, its mouth dripping with blood. That's at the bottom of page one. See what I mean about getting into the action?
Aliens: Fire and Stone wastes no time setting events in motion. Although the characters are now on a familiar planet, I'm not yet sure how this book is going to tie into the other comics. I'm very intrigued by the overall concept and I'm looking forward to where it's heading. This crossover has reignited my interest in the Alien series.