Reading the final, final chapter in the Life and Death series is like reading the first chapter in what should be a brand new series. A really good brand new series. I finally feel like Dan Abnett has hit upon a story that works and carries with it some authentic emotional weight and intelligence, and yet we’re simply wrapping up . . . or are we?
This entire series has been a headscratcher for me. It started out pretty solidly with the Predator story arc and lost its way, especially with the Prometheus portion which treated the Engineers like Frankenstein’s monster…which, to be fair, so, too, did the original Prometheus film, but we learn from those mistakes and we build on them. Finally, in the final issue, Abnett shows some promise that he might do that.
After fighting off a horde of Xenomorphs and losing their Predator ally, our separated groups of Colonial Marines and other survivors have to face off against an Engineer each. One group comes up with a clever way to fight back, and it feels like it’s going to go somewhere that might really open the door to what the black goo and the Engineers are capable of. Instead, this opportunity is wasted. It feels like the limit to the creativity here is death, and with something like the black goo, if feels like there’s so much worse than death.
I feel like this final issue is the beginning of what could be a really great story, and instead we’ve had a long run of the same basic action scenes over and over again with a climax that lost its power because it was the obvious choice to make.
Why tease us with a more interesting story when this should have been the final issue of the Life and Death cycle? Why make me feel like I have to buy the next issue, if there ever is one in this timeline, to see if it really is a cliffhanger? If there never is, we’ll look back and think it’s simply a weird ending to an uneven story. Why toy with your readers so?