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