‘Aliens: The Original Comic Series Volume 2’ - Advance Hardcover Review

In the introduction, the writer of the original Aliens comic book, Mark Verheiden, states that in the original publication, they weren’t able to call the characters Newt or Hicks due to interference with the chronology of the third film in the series. I’m ever so happy to report that this has finally been corrected, and everyone will finally be able to see what happened to Newt and Hicks if they weren’t killed like a Shakespearean character – off screen.

I’m a tremendous fan of the Alien films, even the third film and portions of the fourth, but I had never read the follow-up comics to Cameron’s films until now. A month ago, a friend said, “Read this” and handed me the first volume.  About halfway through, the opportunity to read and review the second volume fell into my lap. I tore through every page like Sonic speeding after coins.

The continuing adventures did something none of the other films attempted to do until Prometheus, and that is expand on the myth of the Xenomorph without giving away its beginnings, which Prometheus attempted to do and which the series will continue to do. We could argue about the merits of detractors of that all night. The comic book made the choice to keep the terror sans backstory while still expanding upon the world in new and different ways.

In this series, we follow Hicks and Newt back into outer space to go head to head with the queen and her brood, only the Xenomorph appears to already be on Earth. What this means for our wayward and deeply scarred duo is alien trouble up the ass. We’re shown religious cults that worship the Xenomorph, fringe militant dictators, cyborgs that are more human than human, and an infestation of Xenomorphs that brings humanity to the edge of its existence, in many cases due to our own disastrous tendencies. 

The great thing is it digs into the psyches of Hicks and Newt, having faced the Aliens and survived in the same ways Aliens dealt with Ripley’s psychological scarring from dealing with them. You get to see the aftermath of the terror of facing one of these things and how it changes a human being. This truly is Newt and Hick’s story, not just a story with people trying to survive another Xenomorph onslaught!

It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, it’s epic, and it’s personal. It’s everything I didn’t know was missing from the canon, and I’m glad I’ve found it.

The only slight hiccup for me was when Sam Kieth took over the art for the final story arc. I love Sam Kieth, but his idiosyncratic style was a little jarring for me. There definitely is a tone and feel that had been created in this universe with slight monochromatic variations, not only in the first two films but the first three major story arcs. Kieth breaks from it, giving us wardrobe choices and color schemes that make it feel like a different universe altogether. But it’s not enough to make you want to put it down, as he does a great job with the Xenomorph and all of the other elements.

If you’re a fan of the Alien series and haven’t read these comics, you should right now. Do yourself a favor. It might have for you what many feel the Aliens films have been missing since Aliens.

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