In Review: Alien vs Predator: Fire and Stone #4

Of all the Fire and Stone books, this has the most emotional ending, but still gives fans all the alien action they want.

The cover: Mutated synthetic Elden is being held by a Predator above several alien drones. If one were to look closely, one would see that several cracks have appeared in Elden’s body, perhaps foreshadowing that the accelerant used to create his new form may be destroying him, much as it’s warped Francis and a Predator. Nice image by E.M. Gist that shows all the big players of this series. The cool blue coloring gives this a nice sci-fi feel. Well done. Overall grade: A

The story: This issue is supposed to wrap everything up. Writer Christopher Sebela had a lot on his plate to cover and he concludes things very well. This installment begins right in the thick of things with Elden trying to make peace with the non-mutated Predator, but it’s not listening to anything he has to say. Meanwhile, Francis has also mutated, having injected himself with the accelerant last issue. The pain he endures as his body changes grotesquely is like a magnet to the mutated Predator, which charges him. He easily smacks the hunter aside, and he realizes that the cancer in his body is gone and that he’s cured. He states, “Nothing–nothing can hurt me again.” Back with Elden and the Predator, he’s getting beaten down time and time again by the alien, but he always rises back. As he says, “War never stops” and neither does his battling with the creature. Each battle is drawn out sensationally, with Elden and Francis’s commentary top notch. The conclusion of the last battle is one to be remembered, that’s for sure! What impressed me about the ending was the dialogue on the final five pages. I don’t think readers were expecting this much conversation or for it to be so heart felt. Sebela puts a lot of emotion into the ending, and it works better than some of the films’ endings. I do have one nit: what is that object that’s the focus of the first two panels on Page 21? I have an idea, but it’s really unclear by the art and story. However, it’s not enough a big enough complaint for me to hate the series. I loved this run and I loved this ending. Overall grade: A

The art: Doing both the art and the colors is Ariel Olivetti. The images are so strong and bright. I was impressed with all five characters in this book: Francis, Elden, Predator, mutated Predator, and the xenomorphs. I really liked Francis on this issue. He’s become a hulking monster that looks like he’s come from the mind of Richard Corben. The warped muscles on him are great, yet Olivetti can still give him human elements: Page 3, panel four; Page 18, panels four and five; and Page 20, panels three, four, and five. That last page has a real emotional strength because of the way Olivetti has drawn it. Elden’s thin build is a wonderful way for readers and antagonists to underestimate him. His battle scenes are spectacular. He stole the book every time he appeared. Page 17 is a sensational conclusion to the fight. The final page is an eerie conclusion for this series–it’s bizarre and totally alien. This is beautiful art that shows some wonderfully gross characters battling onboard a star ship. I can’t say the word beautiful enough. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, yells, Predator speak, and Francis’s warped speech are created by Nate Piekos of Blambot. On this title, and other Fire and Stone titles, he’s masterfully created fonts for characters’ unique speech and Francis is the stand out this month. And I continue to enjoy his thin linework for the dialogue, giving this series an elegant feel. I’m hopeful that he’s doing the other Fire and Stone books. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Of all the Fire and Stone books, this has the most emotional ending, but still gives fans all the alien action they want. Why isn’t this a movie? Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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