I’m still trying to wrap my head around the dimensions of Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone crossover event. Fire and Stone bridges the Aliens, Predator, and Prometheus films into a comic event set around the time of the events of Aliens, but with tendrils reaching back to the creation story laid out in Prometheus, with the action, so far, hurtling toward what was supposed to be the barren rock LV-233. How that will explain the origins and objectives of the pasty white space scientists, the Engineers, remains to be seen, but at two issues in, it’s been bloody.
Case in point: Chris Roberson’s Aliens: Fire and Stone sees the survivors of Hadley’s Hope fleeing their xeno-plagued colony for what they hope will be the safety of LV-233. Russell, an engineer (but not, you know, an “Engineer”) from Hadley’s Hope is the de facto leader of the dwindling group of survivors, and Aliens: Fire and Stone throws that declining number of humans into the grinder, first with a desperate escape from the planet, followed by a hairy landing on LV-233. And from there, it gets worse.
If you’ve never read an Aliens comic until now, Roberson pretty much nails the formula: an unassuming but organized type bands the survivors together, with tons of xenos and human efforts thwarting every plan in their arsenal. I don’t know how this will expand the Prometheus mythos (as this series seems to be threatening to do), but it’s an absolutely fine Aliens story if you’ve been missing one of those. The body count is high and, for the most part, the human characters behave in the way that rational people would (although, I’m still struggling to decide why one character doesn’t reveal what he sees in the cargo bay to the rest of the survivors, thus saving them a whole mess of trouble down the line).
The first issue of Prometheus: Fire and Stone ended with an alien threat on the other side of a door – I’m looking forward to this book similarly colliding with the action in that story (as well as whatever is going on with October’s Predator book).
Artist Patric Reynolds is effectively drawing a horror comic here (with the help of Dave Stewart’s moody, perpetually twilit colors). Expanding on the haunted house motif of the first film alongside the ultra-violence of James Cameron’s sequel, Reynolds keeps his first Fire and Stone issue cramped, claustrophobic, and bloody. The corridors on the colony facility seem like as much of a danger as the wide open jungles of the mysterious LV-233, which are overgrown with their own strange and unnatural flora.
While the shape of the crossover is still somewhat out of view, Aliens: Fire and Stone is good enough Aliens comics, helped by the kind of horror art this kind of book deserves. So… check it out, I guess?