I’ve stayed away from many of the current Dark Horse Alien franchise miniseries, mostly because of my disdain for anything related to Prometheus.
But a story about a bunch of Colonial Marines stranded on a planet with a horde of xenomorphs surrounding them? Now that sounds like a story I could get into, hence my decision to pick up the first issue of Aliens: Life and Death.
Is it good?
Aliens: Life and Death (Dark Horse Comics)
- Wow. Guess we’re jumping right into this thing.
- The Vasquez stand-in is kind of cool, but I would have rather seen her yell something edited by letterer instead of “Screw you!”
- I have no idea who Chris is, but I already feel sorry for her.
- Still don’t like the Engineers, but they do make for a cool visual.
- It’s starting to feel like I needed to read the other miniseries to understand this thing—or at least care about these characters.
Is It Good?
Ugh. Despite the (fortunate) lack of Engineer-centered mythology, this one’s still a bit of a mess.
For starters, the art is wildly inconsistent. It’s never bad, but the tone and quality shifts so much from one setting to the other that I actually went to check and see if the issue had multiple pencilers. And while the best pages are spent on a solo shot of one of the marines in the rain (which looks fantastic), the pages of the assault itself feel a little too cartoony for the gruesome spectacle it’s supposed to be.
On the story side of things, my disappointment could possibly be chalked up to not knowing these characters or their history, which was apparently well-established from a prior miniseries. As a new reader, though, they all felt like stock archetypes straight out of a mediocre video game cut scene.
I will admit to being curious about the fate of one of the characters, but that’s mostly out of morbid curiosity. Unless I’ve missed some very important developments in the Alien mythos, I’ve never seen xenomorphs do (or not do) something like that with one of their victims.
Unfortunately, that particular character’s fate will have to remain a mystery—to me, at least. I’m tapping out of this one early. Aliens: Life and Death just isn’t very new reader friendly…although the fact that I got bored/distracted by a story consisting of colonial marines blasting their way through a horde of xenomorphs could be a considered a troubling sign for even the most dedicated fans of franchise.
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