Aliens 4 (April 1989)

Almost the entire issue is told in summary–it’s not bad, actually, since Verheiden is using a layered narrative (he’s gone on to write crappy Superman/Batman comics, hasn’t he? That’s unfortunate). He resolves the whole thing with the aliens on earth, which is both good and bad. It’s nice he was able to resolve it in a quick amount of time (basically last issue and this one), but it’s hurried in an unexpected way. There’s the whole evil corporation angle here (like in the movie), but Verheiden doesn’t spend a lot of time dealing with it in scenes. So this issue, … Continue reading Aliens 4 (April 1989)

Aliens 3 (January 1989)

Has Warren Ellis read this issue? Because it reminds me a lot of his first issue for Ultimate Nightmare. It’s better than that comic, but very similar. Verheiden opens the issue with a bunch of psychological reports of people freaking out because of the alien–just being near it. It’s a cool idea, the aliens driving people crazy; it’s where Aliens is at its strongest… the stuff the movies never had the time or inclination to explore. Unfortunately, the future Verheiden and Nelson come up with isn’t particularly interesting. The Alien movies wisely stayed as mum about earth in the future … Continue reading Aliens 3 (January 1989)

Aliens 2 (September 1988)

The second issue is, generally, fine. Verheiden tries to fit way too much in and his use of Hicks as a narrator is problematic (Hicks is very well-spoken for someone who didn’t talk in the movie much… maybe he just read a lot and kept to himself). The art becomes a bit of an issue, however. Nelson is great at the alien art. He’s great at showing these disgusting nightmare images with the aliens and not having it by revolting. It’s just creepy and gross and he does it very well. It’s a shame he doesn’t draw human figures particularly … Continue reading Aliens 2 (September 1988)

Aliens 1 (May 1988)

Here’s why I trust Dark Horse on licensed properties. It’s a misplaced trust, I’ve learned as I’ve gone back to read their comics as an adult, but Aliens still holds up. It’s an earnest attempt to make a sequel to the movie, but it also adapts for the comic form. There are dream sequences and flashbacks–stuff a movie wouldn’t have been able to show seriously. As far as the writing, Verheiden does a good job. He reintroduces Newt and Hicks from the movie, puts them both in terrible situations, and then brings the aliens back in. The characters are dysfunctional … Continue reading Aliens 1 (May 1988)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 6 (September 2010)

Stradley really doesn’t “earn” his ending here. He decides, on the last issue, to make it all about the protagonist reconciling with her demons and choosing life. It’s inspiration and heart-warming and not at all the story he’d been writing up until this point. Only this issue and the previous one even hint at the character’s need for internal reconciliation–the comic has a large cast and it’s not like the protagonist gets much page time as anything but the deus ex machina to save her boyfriend’s heinie. Except this time he sort of saves her. It’s actually a rather dramatic … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 6 (September 2010)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 5 (July 2010)

Stradley compresses here. Weeks and weeks. Maybe even a month. It’s okay until he gets to the action part of the issue, which is then far less interesting than it needs to be. He follows the civilians (the protagonist’s sidekicks who haven’t really done anything since the first issue–oh, wait, her boyfriend’s there) for the last quarter of the issue and they’re boring. Stradley seems to be using them because they give the best device for his exposition…. Coming after the previous issue, with its strong battle scenes, this issue seems not just anemic but out of place. Stadley had … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 5 (July 2010)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 4 (May 2010)

The romance between the protagonist and the nerdy guy doesn’t work. He’s not really a nerdy guy, of course, because he used to be in the Marines. Or something. But he’s basically the nerdy guy. He’s even got a nerdy name–I think Die Hard ruined the name Ellis for anyone serious. But part of the comic needs the romance to be touching and significant and it’s not. Maybe Stradley doesn’t buy it either. He writes zero chemistry between them. They seem like siblings. Otherwise, it’s a rather good issue. It’s a big invading an alien planet issue so there’s a … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 4 (May 2010)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 3 (April 2010)

Wow… it’s a good issue. All throughout I mean. There’s even a big action sequence at the end and it works. Probably because Stradley writes the sequence instead of just provides a list of actions for Leonardi to draw. As for the art, it’s still terrible. I might have to revise my opinion. Maybe Leonardi isn’t drawing the protagonist as cheesecake material because he’s simply not willing to take the time. Unless inker Pennington is going all Vince Colletta–there are a bunch of panels where the characters don’t even have faces. It’s not clear if Leonardi just didn’t bother drawing … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 3 (April 2010)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 2 (February 2010)

Whatever my problems with Leonardi–they go on and on–I have to give him credit. He draws a female character in, basically, a bikini and doesn’t do it with any of the cheesecake objectification most comic book artists would. In fact, I didn’t even realize it; it just seemed the right outfit. (It’s a human wearing a Predator outfit for those who don’t follow Aliens vs. Predator). This issue follows the same formula as the first one. The beginning is some really dumb action scene, then the actual story starts and it’s good. Stradley gets in some nice homage to Aliens … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 2 (February 2010)

Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 1 (January 2010)

It has a flashback. It has an actual flashback to explain the events in previous comic books to explain to the reader what’s pertinent. I tried the Dark Horse relaunches of Aliens and Predator. Both were atrocious on almost every level, but they also didn’t have any flashbacks to explain the ground situation to readers who hadn’t been loyally reading the Dark Horse licensed titles. Aliens vs. Predator has a flashback. It comes late in the issue, in the narrative even. The comic turns around, in terms of writing, about halfway through the issue. It opens badly with a big … Continue reading Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War 1 (January 2010)

Aliens 4 (December 2009)

All right, I’m clearly missing something here. Not only does my android question go unresolved, so does the two major questions the series raised–why are these aliens different than those previously encountered and what’s the deal with the mystical alien canyon? The letters page this issue tells the reader to stick with the comic continuity, but I’m pretty sure Dark Horse stopped doing new Aliens comics in 1999, which means other than collected editions, this story is the first new one in ten years. And they expect the reader to know their continuity? You’ve got to be kidding me. What … Continue reading Aliens 4 (December 2009)

Aliens 3 (September 2009)

Ok, so, a little more information–there was an alien invasion of earth, which I kind of remember from the old Dark Horse comics. Old as in before Alien³. Still, not sure what’s going on here. The android’s a weak lead, but there aren’t any other good options. The supporting cast is all weak too (they’re recovering from some kind of mind control). The question Arcudi hasn’t answered yet is whether the android’s ship’s crew knew he was an android. Not sure why that question is so important to me, but it’s a definite necessity. There’s so little to the character, … Continue reading Aliens 3 (September 2009)

Aliens 2 (July 2009)

Thought balloons. Arcudi uses thought balloons. I haven’t seen a thought balloon in a new comic in so long, I thought it was some kind of stylizing error (the character also talks to himself so it’s possible). Um. Otherwise. Huh. Aliens is a competent book. Arcudi doesn’t do a bad job, but it’s all in the approach. He’s hiding stuff from the reader (the protagonist is a newly android who kills–they aren’t supposed to harm any living thing, right?–and falls in love–with a murdered crew mate). The android also seems to know about previous encounters with the alien. I don’t … Continue reading Aliens 2 (July 2009)

Aliens 1 (May 2009)

Wow, Zach Howard’s good. Never heard of him before (or maybe I have), but he’s great. Seems a little bit wasted on an Aliens relaunch (seeing as how the first issue is mostly people, just a couple xenomorphs and Howard clearly is putting more into the composition of the people panels). The rest of it, the comic itself, is wasteful. It invalidates itself in the last few pages (actually, in the third act, Arcudi nicely gives his comic acts) and instead serves as an interesting way to do exposition. I’d probably love the approach if Aliens was running five issues … Continue reading Aliens 1 (May 2009)