Sunday, June 14, 2009

Aliens: The New Dark Horse Comics

Review by Jeff Cochran

It’s been years since I’ve seen that dark and foreboding image of the tall, slender, biomechanical body with the extended, arch shaped, bug like head. Until last night, that is. After reading the newly released Aliens from Dark Horse Comics, I had to watch the movie again. Hollywood is scrambling to reboot everything under the sun. I guess it was just a matter of time before Dark Horse rebooted its Alien franchise, and I must say I like it.

A small group of archeologists enter a backwater star system to take possession of their claim; an ancient artifact of alien origin. When the team makes planet fall, they are met by a small group of miners, who are meant to escort them to the find. Instead, the miners kill the team; apparently directed by some other intelligence.

John Arcudi spends a good amount of time setting up the characters, just to kill them near the end of the first issue. However, there are indications on the last page that these characters will be back for more. I don’t know about you, but I like these kinds of mysteries. The set up for what’s to come has me hooked and I already have issue two ordered.

The artwork is incredible, each page laid out in a logical manner that keeps the story moving forward. It’s been my experience with comics that it’s easy to loose your place in the story because the panels just didn’t quite work, or the dialogue bubbles were out of place. That is not the case with Aliens. The story kept my interest from start to finish without any annoying interruptions to make me forget I was in a story.

The art combines the talents of Zach Howard (Pencils and Inks), Mark Irwin (Inks), Wes Dzioba (Colors), and Blambot!, A.K.A. Nate Piekos (Letterer). The art is amazing, utilizing a perfect balance between line work and color. The ink is used more heavily in the action sequences to add some edge to the work, but then gives way to the color during the more quite sequences of the story. The color is a combination of washes and airbrush, giving the work a superior, illustrated effect versus many comics you see. This team is obviously very experienced visual story tellers.

My only complaint is the cover. I would expect something more painterly than this. The work is nice, don’t get me wrong, but I would have expected something grander for the Aliens debut. Perhaps time or budget constraints kept the publishers from anything more.

The book is printed in full color on a heavy, high quality stock. The publishers did a very nice job producing this book. I highly recommend you dive back into the terror that is Aliens. Order your subscription here:

No comments: