• Prometheus: Life And Death (Trade Paperback)

    Prometheus: Life And Death (Trade Paperback)
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: January 11th, 2017.
    Written by: Dan Abnett
    Illustrated by: Andrea Mutti
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    “This story takes place approximately forty-three years after the events in the motion picture Aliens (and just over a year after the events in the graphic novel series Fire and Stone). Dispatched to Tartarus (LV-797) to investigate unauthorized prospecting on the Weyland-Yutani-owned planet, Captain Paget and her platoon of Colonial Marines encountered three surviving claim jumpers from the Seegson Corporation—and a group of hostile life forms: the Predators. Also discovered was a huge spacecraft of unknown origin, which the Weyland-Yutani representative wanted for his company. A battle ensued between the marines and the Predators over possession of the vessel. The marines suffered heavy casualties, but eventually one team of marines was able to secure the ship and take off, while the remainder of the marines made it back to their own ship, the Hasdrubal, still in orbit above the contested world . . .”

    There are Marines on their own ship and then there are Marines on that “mysterious horseshoe-shaped alien spaceship” – it’s the ones on the alien ship that we’re now worrying about. When a firefight accidently opened up some sort of cryo chamber, something dangerous emerged. When this issue begins, we see the ship land and we see that thing walk out of it onto the surface of an unnamed planet. Some humans observe, the comment on the presence of ‘a Goddamn Engineer’ – and then they notice a bunch of people following it. Marines. And they’re clearly running for cover.

    Singer, Jhalil, Roth, Melville, Rucker, Freebody, Humble and company managed to survive six days on the ship with that ‘thing’ and now they intend to hide, to stay far, far away from it and hopefully find a way home. Unfortunately they have no idea where they’ve just landed. They’re also sorely lacking in food, water and shelter and shockingly low on ammo. Roth figures Paget has to have sent a ship after them, so he wants Singer to set up a distress beacon – but what is that thing hears it? It’ll lead him right to them.

    Melville and Singer, scientists not Marines, really want to examine the pyramid that is inside the ship. They want to learn more about this ‘Space God’ and its origins. The Marines search for food but find only toxic plant and animal life… and some mysterious black goop that seems organic in nature – but Singer’s tests show that it has been genetically engineered. Their theorizing is cut short when the scanner shows that something is in the woods nearby. They take up arms but suffer casualties when an alien shows up, quickly finding themselves outnumbered.

    And then the two people that were watching them, the man and the woman, show up… and they’ve brought backup.

    The surviving human contingent has teamed up, sort of, with a Predator. As they make their way across the jungles of the planet, xenomorph’s attack, but the Predator, who they’ve started referring to as Ahab, is able to make pretty short work of them. They really don’t trust him but as he’s the best hunter around, he does come in handy.

    Foster leads Melville and the others to her ‘home’ where she lives with Galgo, Jill, Chris and, yes, Ahab. It’s not much to look at but it is fortified and as safe as it gets around here. So the two crews cooperate – after all, they’re both basically stuck – and fill one another in… one was dealing with the aliens, the other with the Predators. Now they’ve both got to deal with the Engineers. Roth tells them that there’s still hope that Paget and the USMC might be able to find them if they can get the beacon working, but if the beacon summons the Engineers, maybe they need to rethink this. Ahab was able to kill one of them but given their use of the accelerant, they continue to evolve very quickly. Given what the Engineers are capable of, they hypothesize that maybe the ‘bugs’ are their creation, and that maybe they are too – but given recent events, it’s clear that if the Engineers did create them, they’re no longer happy with the results of their work.

    Or maybe they’re just protecting them from the ‘fire of the Gods…’

    Having now been forced to land on LV-223. what’s left of the humans in this storyline have managed to meet up with some other survivors on the planet who have teamed up with a predator that they’ve dubbed Ahab. The hope was that the Colonial Marine commander would follow the ship and, in turn, show up to rescue them but that didn’t happen. Making matters worse, the Engineer has woken up ‘another of his kind’ and as such, they’re out of time. Their last chance to get off of this rock alive? Make it to the Engineer’s ship and steal it, use it to head off of LV-223 once and for all.

    The Marines and the others know they have to travel light, take just the bare essentials. Jhalil lies injured, Galgo thinks they should leave him but Melville volunteers to carry him. Tensions are running high amongst the members of the group, but they are determined to make this work. Singer knows he can get the ship to fly so long as they can get past the Engineers in the first place. Just then, Ahab shows up, trying to tell them something… he’s seen something. That can’t be good. They decide to run in three groups – a diversion group, a main group with the supplies and the injured, and then a point group to scope out the ship. The teams are setup and
    as daybreak sets in, they make their way towards the ship.

    The point team spots one of the Engineers and tries to distract him. It seems to work, a well placed grenade launched to draw him away, and it looks like this just might work – until a small horde of aliens show up and it all hits the fan, leaving Ahab to square off against an Engineer and the humans, scattered about, with their communication systems down and only a Predator to depend on. Some of them will make it, and some of them will not.

    This ends quite blatantly by literally stating that the story will be continued in Aliens: Life And Death #1 (out from Dark Horse later this month) so don’t expect anything in the way of actual resolution. But if it doesn’t resolve the story it does at least push it along in some interesting directions and set up some pretty intense events to come. There’s a lot going on here – alliances are formed, there are betrayals, there’s a fair bit of action and an equal amount of all too human squabbling over ethics and morals. What Abnett has served up here works just fine as a stepping stone to the next installment of the Life And Death crossover series.

    Andrea Mutti’s artwork has been a bit unorthodox for this series from the first issue as it’s a little softer than you might expect, but it winds up suiting the material quite well. The human characters and non-human characters alike are well illustrated and the action sequences nicely put together. Rain Beredo’s coloring work is also solid, resulting in an attractive looking book.