Story: Chris Roberson
Art: Patric Reynolds
What They Say:
With their numbers dwindling and hopes for rescue fading, the desperate survivors on the strange planet known as LV-223 fight among themselves. A lone scientist may hold the key to their freedom, though—if everyone can live long enough to hear him out! Ties in with the Prometheus and Aliens films!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Of all the series moving along so far in this Fire and Stone arc, the Aliens one manages to be the most enjoyable. This is partially because of the story but also just because of the presentation with how we get it. A good deal of it is Patric Reynold’s artwork and layouts as it moves well and has a great design to it that feels oppressive without going completely for the dark gloom and doom. But it also works well with the log style narration being done with it. That helps to humanize Francis more and allows us to connect with at least one character in the story since you know most, if not all of them, are pretty much dead from the moment the series began.
This installment moves things closer to its conclusion in a pretty strong way. While the survivors have eked out an existence of some sort, they’re obviously not enjoying it in the slightest. The food around there is pretty awful, but they have little in the way of supplies and have to cope with what’s there. There’s also some continuance of the power struggle between the two ostensible leaders there as they provide different ways of doing things. That comes to the forefront here when a strange Xenomorph hybrid has wandered into the survivors enclave and begins a random attack. With it having bonded in a way with the body of Luiz, it’s just damn disturbing looking in how it comes across in controlling him. It’s dealt with relatively quickly, and brutally, but we get Cole revealing what he did at the beginning of the series where he didn’t tell anyone about the Xenomorphs being on board the transport, which in turn has caused all of this.
That sets up a lot of tensions in the group and I’m glad that Roberson spent time really dealing with the group dynamic here and how the stress of it all would play out. It takes a few pages but is wholly warranted, especially in conjunction with seeing what Francis is doing up in his cave documenting everything. His storyline is one that is relatively minor here, but you can see things are breaking down for him as well as the attacks by the Xenomorphs increase and the danger overall is becoming greater. Adding that tension to the humans plan to try and retake part of the transport, so they can get some of the food and potentially either kill or trap the Xenomorphs definitely gives it a good flow since that has its own tension as it turns into an acid filled bloodbath along the way. I love the reveal that’s done in the transport as they make their way in as desperation is kicking in and the surrealness of the situation can most definitely be felt, particularly since Reynolds provides a really strong visual design for it.
Though I’m finding the Fire and Stone arc uneven overall, each series has its bright points. The Aliens arc is the brightest point of them all so far because it’s doing a pretty good story with what these survivors are dealing with while providing some creativity and fun with the combination of the Xenomorphs and what the accelerant of the Engineers introduces into the system as well. This installment moves things along by basically eliminating a good chunk of the human side of the story while pushing Francis into a deeper state of controlled crazy. The reveals on the human side with Cole is good to see being dealt with and I loved the entire transport segment of the issue with what it did and how it raised the stakes of the game in a big way. Definitely a lot of fun and I’m hoping Roberson and Reynolds have something else up their sleeves after this series is over.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 26th, 2014