In Review: Vampirella/Aliens #6

You could hear me in space screaming about how much fun this is.

The covers: The Queen has taken flight in pursuit of Vampirella, who is also pursued by four vampires and two xenomorphs. An orange sun puts the focus on the fleeing heroine, as well as showing those behind her. The upper left of the sun shows a vampire screaming, which is just pretty darned cool. This image sums up where this series has been heading, and it’s now here. Thumbs up to artist Gabriel Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd on this A cover. A black and white edition exits of this cover as the B cover. It’s nice, but, as I’ve said in previous reviews of these covers, I like seeing Boyd’s contributions to the covers along with Hardman’s art. The C cover is the one to get, as it’s the “virgin art” cover featuring the art and colors sans the title and credits. It’s nice. Really nice. Overall grades: A A, B A-, and C A+

The story: Sarah saw her husband Lars killed last issue by an alien life form. The crew of her ship realizes they have to follow protocol and break orbit without spreading infection of the xenomorph species. However, Sarah is having none of that. She’s saying they have to go to the surface, rescue the survivors, and then “drop the excavation explosives and send those bastards to hell!” On the planet, Vampirella and the recently revived vampire are staring down nine rifles of the humans who’ve come down from the ship to investigate. She’s trying to get them to trust her, but the vampire isn’t helping the situation, saying Vampirella can’t lay claim to feeding off all of them. Just as the human’s leader is about to make a move he senses something above him, and it’s the last thing he’ll ever feel again. Meanwhile, the Queen has returned to her nest and screams at the eggs, causing them to open, allowing the facehuggers to emerge. Oh, it’s officially game over time. Corinna Bechko has human and vampire getting attacked from several directions and from several different kinds of aliens. I particularly liked the entrances at the top of Page 8. I foolishly had thought the book over with the arrival at something on Page 15, but Bechko is not going to make the characters’ getaway easy, and an appearance on 18 puts them in a dangerous position unique for anyone that’s encountered aliens in film or other comics. How the threat is thwarted was great and a good surprise, given what was said in previous issues. The ending may seem a little too quick, but this is in line with how the better Alien films wrap up. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals by Javier Garcia-Miranda have been good from the first get go, and he closes out the book in strong style. I like how Sarah is the only character among the humans to show a variety of emotions on the first page. Jean has no expression, his eyes blinded by his glasses, with the two peers behind him frozen in panic and fear. Only Sarah expresses shock, rage, and resolve: she’s the character the reader should care about because she’s got feelings that one can relate to. Those humans confronting Vampy and the vampire aren’t long for this world, as only two show their faces, with those that are covered are instantly identified as canon fodder for the creatures. Before those creatures appear the vampire has some terse words for the book’s title character, flashing some spectacular anger at the bottom of the page to remind the reader that she is not as harmless as she appears. The death on Page 4 is dramatic and sufficiently gruesome, but the look on the character being attacked is awesome: a creepy combination of comical and fright. The aliens, in all their forms, look great, with the emergence of the facehuggers at the bottom of Page 5 perfect — though there’s no sound effect, one can hear the peeling back of the egg and the click of the creature’s appendages. When Sarah and Jean take their ship down to the planet on 12 Garcia-Miranda expertly pulls in tightly to the characters to show the cramped space they’re occupying, which adds to the tension. My only nick in the art comes in the design of something on Page 18. When it’s shown from the front on 18 all I could picture was Korben Dallas’s vehicle, with wings. However, this is only for one panel and I was again in love with the art with the large panel atop Page 20. It’s magnificent and I was so glad that this moment wasn’t spoiled by anything on the cover. The final image sums up the emotion of this series perfectly. After all, what else is left? A great job, again, from Mr. Garcia-Miranda. Overall grade: A-

The colors: InLight Studios make this book creepy with their skills. The first page features no aliens nor vampires; it’s just a quick exterior shot of the humans’ ship in orbit and then five shots of them speaking. Take a gander at how they’ve created tension from the lack of light on their ship and the eerie reflections coming off of Jean’s glasses. On the planet things are also dark, though when the vampire has harsh words the background behind her goes crimson as she restrains herself from feeding. The attack of the alien on Page 4 introduces the first shock of colors into the book and it is incredibly dramatic because of the dramatic coloring. I loved the green used to show when an alien was killed, echoing the frightful color of their acidic blood from the films. Ships’ engines are also really strong, with bright orange and yellow flames emanating from them. My favorite panel by InLight occurs on 2o: the skin of the characters and the background makes the climax complete. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, screams, sounds, and transmissions are created by Simon Bowland. I really like the font used for the dialogue and how italics are employed to show emphasis in a character’s speech and how it’s thickened with someone screams. Outstanding. And the sounds! — I’m loving all the SKTTRs! Overall grade: A

The final line: An excellent conclusion for this excellent series. Great scares, great characters, and great visuals. You could hear me in space screaming about how much fun this is. 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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