The cover: It’s looking like “game over” for sole survivor of the Geryon, Francis Lane, as a xenomorph has got him pressed down and is about to release its second maw to split his skull. However, unbeknownst to both, a Predator is coming up quickly behind them and it wants to take the alien down. Nice composition by E.M. Gist as I was so focused on the alien and hapless Francis I failed to notice the Predator emerging out of the mist, and that’s exactly how it should enter the scene. Excellent coloring as well, with the blues being particularly eerie. Overall grade: A
The story: This issue goes into some new territory for both film franchises and it’s grotesque and frightening and cool. Christopher Sebela opens this chapter with Elden commenting, “Interesting effect,” to the hole that’s been blown through his middle by a Predator. The wound quickly begins to heal and the mutated android beings its attack anew on the killers. Xenomorphs join in and its Aliens versus Predator action. Seemingly forgotten by Elden, Francis decides to make a run for it, however, even while being pierced by a Predator’s lance, Elden says, “Stay where you are.” The lone human on the ship makes a run for it and something happens on Page 11 that will change the entire focus of this series. Things also take a turn on Page 18, with the eventual occurring and the pace of the book speeding up. There’s a lot of action in this issue, with the most brutal fights I’ve seen from either of these species in years. With Elden included as an antagonist, there’s an added threat to this chaos, because he’s intelligent and commands the xenomorphs to do his bidding. He’s arrogant and insane wrapped up in one disgusting package. There is also quite a bit of depth given to the Predators. Readers still won’t be able to translate what they’re saying to one another, as Sebela is rightfully not doing so, but what he is doing is giving them an actual story with several highs and lows that moves one of their number forward in amazing ways. A tricky bit of writing, but one that he pulls off well. This is fun. Overall grade: A
The art: Beautifully disgusting work from Ariel Olivetti, who is providing fully colored illustrations for this series. Elden is one of those characters that I can’t not look at. He’s absolutely freakish, with his flesh colored body, black eyes, and extra limbs. If this were a character on the big screen he would be gross. But this is a gross I can’t help but look at. It’s somewhat akin to watching the characters of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. His stance alone, in panel six on Page 1, is frightening. His smile is ghastly, Pages 6 and 7. I adored the “Here’s Johnny!” panel on Page 14. The Predators look great. The scenes where they’re battling Elden and his minions are terrific, and the fate of one particular Predator is sure to heat up the discussion online. Pages 11 – 13 are 15 – 17 are unsettling to look at, but also amazingly wonderfully deranged. As the lone human, I thought that Francis wouldn’t be given too much time for Olivetti to focus on, as the book is about the two races smacking each other about, but time is given to him, and he has some nice dramatic moments, especially as he’s feeling the effects of his infection. As he looks at his arm, I was thinking exactly what he was thinking. The final page has some nice emotion on him as something unexpected grabs him. This book just looks great. Overall grade: A
The letters: Fire and Stone letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot continues with his excellent dialogue fonts, bringing an otherworldliness with his line work to this otherworldly story. There are tons of sound effects to give sound to all the actions occurring, and that sweet Predator font to denote their speech is also present. Fans won’t just read this book, they’ll hear it. That’s the highest form of praise I can give to a letterer. Overall grade: A+
The final line: The action goes into overdrive as one species has a grotesque turn. I’m loving this series. 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.