• Aliens: Life And Death #4

    Aliens: Life And Death #4
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: December 21st, 2016.
    Written by: Dan Abnett
    Illustrated by: Moritat
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    “On LV-223, Captain Paget’s team of Colonial Marines attempt to rescue a woman, Chris, from the Alien hive, only to be set upon by the Alien horde, intent on preventing her rescue. Inside the hive, Chris witnesses the stillbirth of a deformed chestburster erupting from a fellow captive and realizes that she may carry the last viable Alien queen embryo. Empowered, she uses the threat of her own death as leverage against the queen to pull the Alien horde away from Paget and her troops. But the reprieve from the xenomorphs reveals another threat—an Engineer, determined to wipe the humans from the face of the planet!!”

    Paget’s second in command, Delaria, is aboard the Hasdrubal with Lorimer, checking in on the drop team. They radio to get an okay, but receive no response in return. There are a few reasons that the signal could have gone dead, they’re not panicking… yet. Delaria knows that she needs to keep trying and if they continue to come up empty, prep a recovery team. Lorimer, ever the company man, is behind her on this – there’s a lot of potential money at stake here. Except that Paget told Delaria to do no such thing – if they go black, leave them there and get out. Delaria knows that Weyland-Yutani doesn’t care about lives, they care about profit – Delaria would rather follow Paget into Hell than tow the company line.

    On the planet’s surface, the Marines go up against a well-armed Engineer. There are casualties. This is a fight they can’t win, especially when an alien shows up. More casualties. Their numbers are thinning quickly. The place is ‘crawling with bugs’ – Paget knows this. If they can’t win against the Engineer and they can’t hide from the aliens, how can they save Chris? Jill is refusing to give up, and Paget isn’t keen on this either.

    Paget radios Chris, tells her what they’re up against – but Chris… she’s able to call of the bugs when they swarm and attack. They know what is inside her. The conversation is cut short when the Engineer shows up, guns blazing, but Chris has a plan – she knows that the alien queen understands a threat, even if she can’t understand her words. The Marines decide to go down fighting, to lure the Engineer into the hive knowing that the queen will do whatever it has to do in order to guard what’s left of her hive…

    To be continued in Aliens Vs. Predator: Life And Death #1, out later this month! Until then, this final chapter in Aliens: Life And Death delivers, even if clearly the story isn’t finished yet. Abnett’s story takes things to a logical conclusion of sorts here, it makes sense that the issue would end the way that it does, but at the same time he ties in some of the threads from earlier in the Life And Death runs, meaning that those who have been paying attention from the start are going to get more out of this than those who didn’t (which is maybe stating the obvious but there are nods to the earlier four issue runs that are kind of cool here). By this point we know and, for the most part at least, like the characters. Paget is noble, putting her team ahead of herself. Jill and Chris are clearly in love, we want them to make a go of it. The rest of the Marines? They want to get the Hell out of there, and really who can blame them? Lorimer remains a shifty type, we don’t trust him, nor should we. Where it’ll go from here, we’ll have to find out later this month when the AVP run, the last run for Life And Death, begins.

    Moritat’s art was an unorthodox choice from the start but it works. There’s a lot of expressive line work here, the characters are well rendered as are the backgrounds and the aliens and Engineers alike are both nicely illustrated. The coloring from Rain Beredo is excellent and compliments the art in a big way, helping to bring it to life and making sure that are eyes are drawn to where they’re supposed to be drawn. Throw in a great cover piece from David Palumbo, who really is making a name for himself lately, and you’ve got a seriously good comic that, like a good comic should, leaves you wanting more.

    Along with the comic itself, we also get one page of design work from Brian Thies showing off his work illustrating the alien queen. All in all, a solid issue in what is fast becoming a really solid storyline from Abnett and company.