‘Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #1’ - Comic Book Review

The Life and Death story arc has quite literally been everywhere, and it’s quite literally about surviving every circumstance. That’s the only through line I can make of it. It’s like Dan Abnett was given all the ingredients and just started stirring. There doesn’t seem to be any larger function or endgame here, just a push to get through to the next cool idea. The unfortunate thing is without that endgame, the story that tethers the cool ideas together isn’t always the strongest, and the characters aren’t always the most intriguing. They end up being shuffled around like chess pieces, simply reacting to what’s coming without a goal beyond survival or without an anchor point to make them relatable.

Most recently, the Engineer served a cool purpose by going toe to toe with the Alien queen. Now one of our human pawns has been impregnated with the next potential queen and is on the lamb with the remaining humans. The bugs are drawing near, but so too are - from out of the blue as you guessed from the title of the story arc - an army of Predators. In order to survive the oncoming onslaught of bugs, the humans are about to make a decision that could complicate matters even more.

At this point, I really couldn’t tell you all that much about the characters. They meet out the simplest of archetypes, so that we have something to at least understand within each cool moment. Some of them care about each other, and some of them growl commands at each other. There are some that are badass and some that are emotional, but any sort of real character development seems to be shrugged at.

Nor can I think of less interesting way to introduce the Predator army than by killing two humans. We’ve seen it done countless times. I think that’s one of Abnett’s biggest problems in this series; he’s showing us nothing that we haven’t seen before. The elements that should draw us in, many of them are obvious.

Brian Albert Thies is a good artist by all standards, but we’re treated to a lot of talking heads and somewhat boring angles. There is a way to make even the simplest of dialogue scenes visceral and intriguing, especially when you have mounds of Xenomorphs on your tail. Even the action scenes feel a little stagnant. The cinematic scope that I’ve come to expect from a good Alien or Predator story is missing here. Thies is a good artist, but I don’t think his style is particularly fitting for the subject matter. The landscapes fall flat, and the backgrounds are colored in such a way that don’t really build the ambiance of the world. The elements for this series don’t fall in line to create a truly memorable product, but one with some cool moments.

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