Thursday, August 25, 2016

Out of the dark

Aliens: The Original Comics Series wasn't what I thought it would be - a straight comic adaptation of the second film of the Alien franchise - it was significantly cooler and more exciting than that.

This series is everything that everything after Aliens should have been. It was a great exploration of characters we're already attached to, has a compelling story and some horrifying visuals, and keeps your pulse up as you turn the pages in a way that rarely happens in comic books and NOW rarely happens in Alien films.

It feels like every bit of it belongs in the franchise in a way that is much more intuitive and fascinating than something like, say, Prometheus. *shudder*

The art is almost unspeakably great in almost every part of the story (the space jockeys look pretty stupid, honestly, and nothing at all like the delirious Geiger biomechanics that populate the rest of the franchise) and really shines in covers and two-page spreads. The introduction talks some about how the art was pulled off using a now-defunct product that allowed for incredibly careful control of halftones and that I find stunning, perplexing, and impossible to visualize. But I don't have to visualize the end results - they're in beautiful black and white on the page and they hold up as great examples of horror/sci-fi comic work in a genre that apparently hasn't had much motivation to improve in 30 years.

I really want to talk about the story but don't really know how to without totally fucking it up for someone who might be coming fresh to it. It's deep and heady and full of twists and turns that build tension and make you sad and scared and carry you along with the characters. It's brilliantly done and I can't wrap my head around the fact that we got Alien Resurrection and fucking Prometheus instead of an adaptation of this comic series. Those movies were bad enough before I knew that there was a fucking genius extension to the canon of the cinematic universe, and that this much more engaging story was passed over for Damon Lindhoff foolishness.

Aliens: The Original Comics Series is a great fast read that I really would strongly recommend to sci-fi fans, Alien fans, and grownups who don't know if comics are a medium they can take seriously, and anybody who's looking for a new series they can eat up all at once. It's really well done, and though I'm sad I didn't know about it before an extra copy showed up in my Dad's Loot Crate a couple months ago, I'm really happy to have read it and think it was well worth the couple of hours it takes to work through the whole thing.

     - Alli

Vernheiden, Mark. Mark A. Nelson. Aliens: The Original Comics Series. Dark Horse Comics.
     Milwauke: Oregon. 2016. (1986).

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