The cover: On the surface of LV-223, a planet miraculously and mysteriously now full of life, a lone Engineer stops before a waterfall to find the corpse of an ancient Earthly visitor, its visor noticeably smashed. The skull of this unknown individual looks upon the giant alien in accusation. Good layout, but the dead astronaut is too dark to see any details. In fact, I originally took this dark mass for a rocky crag until I looked closer. That’s not a good mistake for a reader to make. This image is by David Palumbo. Overall grade: B-
The story: Several members of the Kadmos have discovered a human vessel from the neighboring moon of LV-426. Last issue we saw that is full of the iconic xenomorphs that populate this film franchise. Once inside they find an odd fungus covering the wall and a spiky tale comes out of the ceiling and slowly dangles above them. Suddenly one crew member is killed by a fully grown alien, while an egg hatches and a facehugger propels itself onto a victim’s face. Guns go off, acid blood goes flying, and the humans get out as quickly as they can, carrying the casualties. Two crew members, Francis and Elden, are too far away to pick up on the evacuation, and make their way to a cave containing a wealth of tantalizing information. Paul Tobin is really putting these people through the wringer, and it’s not just from aliens. The setting is also dangerous, as an unexpected disaster occurs on Page 5. The crew learns the full story from Captain Foster, and even a casual Alien fan will know their responses. However, even I was surprised at the reveal at the bottom of 9–I can’t wait for this to come to the front of the story. Things go in an unexpected direction when crew members venture out again, for a good reason, and stumble upon something. Galgo finds something that’s been seen in Aliens vs Predator: Fire and Stone #1, and Francis does something to Elden that goes very wrong. This is a really enjoyable read with the crew acting smart, the aliens acting fierce, and someone unexpected walking into something slowly. Overall grade: A
The art: This is the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen in an Alien comic. It’s just gorgeous. Juan Ferreyra, with color assistance from Eduardo Ferreyra, delivers lush settings, both organic and human (and alien) made, characters that look completely believable and unique (not one is a cookie cutter character), and the aliens of different ilk look fantastic (with some of the largest ones ever seen making a spectacular entrance). The coloring is fantastic. When the aliens appear on Page 2 the coloring obscures and highlights parts of the predators to make them really scary for those unfortunate to be too close. The acid spray scene was as good as anything shown in any film. The weapons fire is spectacularly orange. My favorite coloring comes in the form of an important hologram that pushes the story into a location. Sounds are brightly colored and they stand out impressively. This is art that would find a following without the text. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue, sounds, yells, screams, and scene settings come from Nate Piekos of Blambot and they look great. The weapons fire, the acid spraying, and aliens’ squeals are terrific. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Must reading for fans of the films, science fiction, or horror. Dark Horse is delivering the goods. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two 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.