• Aliens: Life And Death #3

    Aliens: Life And Death #3
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: November 16th, 2016.
    Written by: Dan Abnett
    Illustrated by: Moritat
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    “Captain Paget and her Colonial Marines—along with assorted survivors from ill-fated missions to the
    planets LV-797 and LV-223—went through hell to finally make it safely back to the USS Hasdrubal, only to discover that one member of their party, Chris, believed to be dead, was still alive on the surface of LV-223—inside an Alien hive! When Paget led a rescue mission back to the planet, the team encountered two others of the presumed dead—Galgo and his Predator companion, Ahab. Together, they make their way to the hive to save Chris... even though they may be too late!”

    Jill leads the troop of Marines further inward in hopes of saving her girlfriend Chris. They load up and head in on Paget’s command, unaware that inside the hive Chris has come face to face with a horde of aliens and their queen. Things look really and, and then some strange noises in the distance cause the bugs to retreat before killing her. They get communications back and Chris tells Sergeant Roth not to come after her – she’s carrying one of them, she has been, as she puts in, implanted. Jill gets word of this and tells her that she’s talked to Lorimer at Weyland-Yutani and that they’ve promised to do an extraction, that there’s still hope and that they can save her life.

    Meanwhile, Galgo and his Predator friend Ahab come across the dropship that the Marines have used to land on the planet. Unfortunately for everyone, an Engineer gets to it first and when he does, he blows it up. Galgo figures now they have no choice but to find the Marines and hope they can call for a backup ship.

    As Chris scuttles about the hive hoping to give Paget any clues as to her location, she comes across what’s left of their comrade in arms, Rucker. A chestburster makes short work of the reunion, but Chris notes that the thing that came out of him, it has some sort of birth defect. She speculates that the black goo that the Engineers seem so keen on might have caused the aliens to mutate, preventing them from breeding properly. She wonders if, since the queen would seem to be infertile, if the reason that the aliens are leaving her alone is because what she’s been implanted with is the last queen embryo – that might make getting Chris out of the hive even more difficult than it already would have been…

    Dan Abnett’s story is firing on all cylinders in this issue – strongly written and interesting characters both male and female, some great and unexpected twists, some eerie imagery and an ever increasing sense of danger and tension drive the narrative in a big way. This third chapter offers up the right mix of action and intrigue, character development and carnage. The horror elements are amped up a bit here, but there’s still plenty of gung-ho Marine combat and bug hunting to satiate the series’ loyal followers. It’s good stuff, a really fun read that pulls you in quite nicely.

    Moritat’s artwork continues to be a nice surprise. Aided by Rain Beredo’s fantastic coloring work, the artwork here doesn’t look anything like the other recent Aliens series that Dark Horse has published but it works and it works well. There’s a great sense of movement and the facial expressions really hammer home just what these characters are going through. On top of that, the back pages of this issue offer up a couple of conceptual sketches from Brian Thiess and a great cover piece painted by David Palumbo.