• Aliens Vs Predator: Life And Death #2

    Aliens Vs Predator: Life And Death #2
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: January 25th, 2017.
    Written by: Dan Abnett
    Illustrated by: Brian Albert Thies
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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 Fire and Stone story cycle). Unanswered distress calls to the orbiting Hasdrubal forced Captain Paget and her Colonial Marines to seek refuge in an Engineer pyramid on LV-223. They hastily fortified their position, expecting an attack from the Alien horde that seeks to claim the larval queen that was implanted in Chris, one of the survivors of a previous mission to the planet. The attack came, but the timely arrival of Galgo—another survivor—and his Predator cohort, Ahab, turned the tide of battle . . . just in time for Paget to discover that their distress calls were heard, just not by fellow marines… ”

    Sgt. Roth orders Melville to get everyone he can together – the ‘Hunters’ from LV-797 have arrived unannounced and this clearly poses a very big threat to everyone left. Roth and Paget talk – he tells her he figures they tracked them here. The Predators are looking for new sport hunts. It seems like they’re waiting for something. Chris, who is starting to crack up, notes that they’re just standing there out in the open, uncloaked.

    Cross and Freebody show up – they found Galgo, who advises them to stay put and stay calm. They’ve got one chance – Ahab – who they watch, through binoculars, as he approaches the newly arrived hunting party. They talk in an alien language while Cross is ordered to try and get the Hasdrubal on data lock so they can remotely bring down the freight bus and maybe get off of this planet before all Hell breaks loose. Ahab’s discussion gets physical. One of the hunting party members challenges him and they go at it ‘mano a mano’ while the others stand aside. This is clearly a ritual of some sort, possibly to decide dominance or settle leadership.

    But of course, while all of this is going on the alien queen festering in Chris’ womb starts getting noisy…

    Dan Abnett’s Life And Death storyline took a little while to get moving but it’s been firing on all cylinders for some time now and in hindsight, those slower earlier installments were doing something very important – building characters. Had he not taken the time to do that these later installments wouldn’t be as strong as they are, and he clearly seems to building up to finish on a high note. Lots of action in this issue but more importantly than that we’re seeing the repercussions of what different characters went through earlier in the run come to fruition. There’s lots of suspense here and some interesting twists as well – how it’ll end, well, we’ll find out soon enough it seems.

    Brian Albert Thies’ artwork, complemented by Rain Beredo’s coloring, is top notch – especially those last few pages where you’re left with an ‘oh shit!’ look of shock and awe on your face. Good detail and action here, nice panel layouts and a gritty sort of aesthetic ensure that the visuals match the storytelling at every beat.

    Two issues left – and what a cliffhanger! And you’ve gotta love David Palumbo’s awesome painted cover gracing the front of this issue.