Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone came out of the gates strong but stumbled hard in the second issue.
Can the third issue recapture the charm? Is it good?
Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Ladies and gentlemen; children old enough to remember a Predator movie with Kevin Peter Hall: welcome the stars of the Fire and Stone Space Circus!
Titter as you watch a hulked-out Predator with a hilariously undersized shoulder cannon.
Grimace as a synthetic get its face ripped off by a pack of voracious Aliens.
Groan as you watch a scientist scurry around, cough up blood and soliloquize (for the third issue in a row).
In all seriousness though, referring to Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 as a circus isn’t necessarily all bad: the issue is crammed full of spectacle, action, and bloodshed from start to finish. To those who thought there wouldn’t be enough action from one entity or the other I say, “Fret not, homie.”
The biggest problem though is that this show is already suffering from the law of diminishing returns. That is, nothing has progressed narrative-wise since the first issue. I’m not complaining that we’re watching various E.T. slobberknockers go down from one end of the spaceship to the other like some futuristic WWE analogue but even the worst pro wrassler could sell the crowd better than accelerant-infected Elden has. He’s had holes shot through his stomach, his face chewed off, and legs lopped off… but where’s the sense of peril or suspense if he’s just going to regenerate a few panels later?
It’s clear that the effects we’ve seen exhibited so far by the accelerant aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, so mercifully there’s that to look forward to in next month’s concluding issue. That and Elden is actually beginning to show some interesting character progression in the forms of self-doubt and concern.
That being said, much hinges on next issue because the most interesting thing we’ve seen the accelerant do so far is make characters other than Elden morph into enormous, regenerating, monosyllabic grunting, Toxic Avenger-lookin’ ass brutes… which loses its luster fast and just seems disappointing in the grand scheme of things, especially when the transformative goo/gene accelerant gave writer Sebela a hall pass in terms of direction. Even the oft-disparaged Newborn from Alien: Resurrection had that eerie, David Cronenberg/Giger conflation vibe going for it — whereas the gene accelerant mutants come off like less intelligent versions of The Infected from 28 Days Later — not the perfect, self-ameliorating beings the narrative would have you believe.
Is It Good?
Ariel Olivetti’s artwork remains almost worth the price of admission in itself. The guy draws some creepy/beautiful s--t and as I’ve said before — his style and designs click well with the Alien/Predator ambiance.
Sebela’s writing has its charm; we’ve only seen AvP: Fire and Stone’s strong beginning and lackluster middle, though — can the climax clamber its way back up and prove to be just as impressive as the first act? Here’s hoping.