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The Complete Aliens Book Review: Omnibus – Vol. 1

Get Three Times the Aliens Without Having To Admit Alien 3 Existed!

The Complete Aliens Omnibus - Vol. 1
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you know about Aliens. Capital A. The ones made famous in 1979 by Ridley Scott, H.R. Giger, and Sigourney Weaver.

Alienbuds

They’re actually besties, the Aliens and Sig.

It’s no surprise that the franchise got spin offs in all sorts of media outlets. You may have seen the movies where they ostensibly fight Predators. You’ve had the chance to blast Xenomorphs in arcades and on your home consoles (ironically, Alien 3 was kind of an awesome Genesis port unlike Colonial Marines). And you might also have read up on some of the adventures versus the Aliens in the old Dark Horse comic runs like I did. If you didn’t that’s okay. Aliens Omnibus, Vol. 1 will let you amend that if you’re of a mind to read them in novel form.

 

The Setup

 

You know the jist already: The Company (usually, Weyland Yutani, but this time, Bionational) wants those sweet, sweet alien lifeforms for pure capitalist purposes. When life gives you something that will kill and or impregnate then kill with a success rate so close to 100% … you, I dunno, go catch one to use on your enemies before they can impregnate or kill you? All I know is that the company is willing to do a lot per the Alien and Aliens movies to get their hands on them for study and eventual profit. We all know how it went down on LV-426.

Their extended universe fiction goes a little deeper into further consequence.

Vol. 1 largely pertains to two folks who have survived a similar encounter to Ellen Ripley’s – they were on a backwater colony world with the misfortune to have xenomorphs on it. Wilkes is the marine who came home as the USMC’s sole surviving marine, and young Billie was the only colony survivor. Only when they got home, Wilkes got sent to prison after drugs and alcohol failed to drive the experience out of mind, and Billie never quite took to the brainwashing that powers that be thought would keep the whole encounter quiet. Re-united after a new Xenomorph encounter near earth sets corporations vying for control of the beasts for their own ends, they find themselves on the next USMC ship out to the believed Alien homeworld to collect specimens. As one might expect when dealing with an apex predator such as the Xenomorphs and the treachery of megacorps and the interference of the religious fanatics who believe the Aliens are divine, things go pear-shaped in as bloody a fashion as you’d expect.

 

The Good

 

Well, what it comes down to is do you need more Aliens in your che… life? If so, this will surely give you exactly that. Steve and Stephani Perry have served up for you a mostly faithful adaptation of the old comics of the nineties. There are facehuggers. There are synthetics. There is corporate skullduggery and there are pulse rifles. So you get more adventure on alien worlds, as well as a rapidly deteriorating situation on earth that will bring back the main heroine of the Aliens universe – Ellen Ripley.

The good thing about this though is its scale – in the core films (I’ve not seen any of the AvP films), Aliens are always isolated. They’re on a colony. On a spaceship. On a prison world. But in this entry, they are here now. They are ripping through our planet like nothing humanity has ever seen. The stakes are high, so that’s a change to the usual Aliens formula.

 

The Bad

 

However, there is the same problem here that the Jurassic Park films have – there’s only one kind of story you can tell with Aliens, no matter how grand the scope. Introduce a bunch of characters and take bets on who lives and who dies at the claws, tails, stingers, blood, and teeth of the Aliens. There’s not a lot of nuance. When an alien shows up the same thing happens over and over again. They always attack unless you threaten their young, and even then, they only delay long enough to find another way to kill you. They are the zombies of outer space, except that they don’t give you a lot of time for the whole ‘mankind is the real monster’ moments. It does happen. But mostly it’s getting on with the death by violence or acid.

Also, the translation from comic to novel is rough. Some chapters jump between scenes jarringly, making chapters seem more like arbitrary stopping points rather than separating thematic moments. This works in the comics where at a page’s end there’s a natural transition in any given person’s flow of reading. In this it is sometimes jarring. It bounces frequently without always leaving you with an impression that anything of importance just happened. It has moments where you do learn neat stuff – such as the bizarre way that Aliens communicate and disrupt human mental processes – but not always enough.

 

The Sum Up

 

If you’re reading stuff like Game of Thrones, or The Three Body Problem, or the Martian, you’re not quite going to find something like this whetting your whistle. However, for those who are deeply invested in the Aliens cinematic or comic universes, this is an opportunity to catch up on what you may have missed previously via the graphic novels that preceded this entry.

Final Verdict: 3 / 5

3egg

 

Released January 19th, 2016; Available for order in print wherever fine books are sold; Author: Steve Perry & Stephani Perry; Publisher: Titan Books; MSRP: $8.99
This review was based on a copy of the title graciously provided by Titan Books.

Burtacamoose
Burtacamoose is a guy that likes to write. Whenever someone will let him, or better yet pay him, he’ll write. Sometimes, he even blathers on at his own site, ossua.com, between writing his novels and short stories. As a member of the thirty-something generation of gamers, he enjoys retro-titles, platformers, RPGs, shooters, puzzles, word games, and things that are flat out weird. He has been writing for HeyPoorPlayer since early 2011. Favorite Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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