Story: Corinna Bechko
Art: Javier Garcia-Miranda
What They Say:
Trapped in an ancient underground base, outnumbered by lethal xenomorphs after all rescue attempts have failed, Vampirella and Lars are in for the fight of their lives. Their only hope is their allies on the surface, but how much trust can a vampire ever put in a human?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Aliens/Vampirella series hits the halfway mark this installment and it’s been a very fun trip throughout it. While some elements are a bit loose and all, allowing it to be its own thing while bringing in what it wants from the respective properties, the end result has been a very fun blending of work with solid writing and some very enjoyable artwork that brings it all together. It can be hard to really make a SF horror series like this and make it feel tense, especially since we’re all very familiar with the aliens at this point, but even as we get the expected nods it still ratchets up the anticipation with how it’ll go and if it’ll deviate from it or not. There’ still that air of uncertainty.
With this being the end of the first half, it’s in that transitional state where we catch our breath a bit and the various plots start to figure out what the next course of action is. On the human side, this results in two different areas. The first is the always eyeroll inducing idea of people trying to find out what’s going on and help if they can while being at a distance. This is with Sarah, Lar’s wife, who is stuck in orbit as the base is in quarantine. She’s naturally going to break it with a shot at essentially crash landing into the base to find out if her husband is okay. It’s just bad stuff with how it plays out and goes for the terrible emotional angle. Similarly, we get the couple of people on base that are freaking out about what’s going on below now that they’ve lost communication so their plan is to create a toxic gas and flush out everything, killing Lars and “that vampire” as well that they figure is probably the cause of it all. It’s a touch more involved, but it still comes back to this basic idea where they know they’re doing a bad thing but trying to view it as a greater good.
Vampirella’s story is where all the action really is and that works out well. She and Lars are doing their best to survive, having moved deeper into the Nosferatu base. What they’ve learned there paints a bleak picture, seeing some killed in the past from old footage still around. And it naturally gets worse because of said toxic cloud and the way that the Xenomorphs always find a way to get where they want to be. It makes for some pretty tense moments in the second half as they break through in some creative ways and once again Garcia-Miranda really nails it. There’s a good sense of terror from what these creatures look like that’s emphasized more by the angle from which we see them and combining that with tight spaces and the panic expressions of Lars it all ends up creating the right mood.
This series continues to delight me with what it does. Bechko brings together a straightforward script and one that’s certainly familiar enough to anyone who’s read an Aliens book before, but she does it in a strong enough fashion to make it work. A lot of the time these kinds of familiar scripts just fall flat on their faces. While I dislike the storyline going on in orbit because it plays to bad tropes, I’m enjoying the other two and just the weirdness of what we’re seeing with the nosferatu and some of the dialogue between Vampirella and Lars, especially as she tells him the right way to talk to a Nosferatu should they come across one. A little diplomacy can go a long way. This is a solid installment and again has me hopeful that we’ll see more Aliens material in the future from both Bechko and Garcia-Miranda after this series ends.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: November 4th, 2015