Like it or not, Prometheus has landed smack dab in canon country within the Aliens and Predator mythos and Dark Horse is releasing a trio of new series to celebrate.
In Aliens: Fire and Stone, acclaimed sci-fi author Chris Roberson wants to take us back to the old school; you know, the whole “silly humans way out of their depth as they face acid-bleeding, endoparasitoid, nightmare-inducing extraterrestrials” horror ambiance of the original Alien film.
I think this series and I are gonna get along just fine. Is it good?
Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
If you aren’t a shameless Aliens/Predator dork like myself, the biggest deal with Fire and Stone, besides the addition of Prometheus estate to the fold, is that the story focuses on a group of people from LV-426, AKA the planet where Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and crew first encountered the Alien eggs in the original Alien film. (Also where she and a bunch of Space Marines return to clean up in the sequel.)
The only surviving soul of LV-426 (now called Acheron and home to a terraforming colony called Hadley’s Hope) that we got to see in the Aliens film was a little girl named Newt.
I won’t lie: I fucking hated Newt as a prepubescent. She was whiny, annoying and most heinous of all: she bit Michael Biehn’s hand with her little rat teeth. (He played my favorite character, dammit.) Ironically, I’ve grown to appreciate the character with age because she’s an excellent foil to the rest of the primarily machismo-laden crew and she’s absolutely necessary in terms of characterization and humanization. (Admit it, you’d be hit right in the feels if she were your daughter or sister.)
That’s why Aliens: Fire and Stone has some promise right from the get-go; what fan of the series hasn’t wondered what the people who lived on that ill-fated colony were like?
That’s where terraforming engineer Derrick Russell and his comrades come in. He and some others Hadley’s Hopesians manage to peace the hell out of an Alien-infested Acheron aboard a mining ship called the Onager.
They crash land on a nearby orbiting moon and soon discover that they weren’t the only species to survive the trip.
Is It Good?
The debut issue of Aliens: Fire and Stone went by fast. Almost too fast. On the plus side, it was a pretty succinct little read that held my attention from start to finish. And it looks like we’re going to get to see some Human vs. Alien action in an open, arboreal setting instead of a dark, dank spaceship corridor like we’ve seen so many times before.
On the other hand, we still know next to nothing about our protagonists except for the fact that they ran faster from the Aliens than their dead friends did. But I know that we will soon.
Patric Reynolds does a good job on art. His characters are distinctive and detailed, his Aliens are as creepy-ass looking as you’d expect and the kill sequences are grisly. Unfortunately, he’s not given much to work with in this issue, so there’s just not a whole lot to see. Dude drew this teaser image for the series at the New York Comic Con, though:
And that shit’s tight. So no doubt there’s plenty more enrapturing visuals of that ilk to come.
I wish we could’ve seen a little more to differentiate this first issue from countless other Alien narratives, but I’ve got hope that Roberson is holding some aces up his sleeve. And this guy’ll be there to check it out.