Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Randy Stradley
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Review by: Eric Stuckart
Aliens vs. Predator starts a new chapter in the long running series, in the form of Three World War. With the original team of Randy Stradley and Rick Leonardi in tow for this story, this could possibly be something interesting to look out for in the future, but only time will tell. The comic dishes out a lot of back story, but it is necessary in order to get newer readers up to speed.
Opening up with an attack on civilian miners on the planet Caparis VII, waged by Predators with Aliens under their control, it’s not hard to see that something new is happening and war is bound to break out. After the attack, it cuts to planet Bellatrix 1, where the Colonial Marines step in and try to enlist the help of a hard-boiled woman named Machiko Noguchi. Noguchi is the star of the original series, who befriended the Predators and knows much of their ways.
The story introduces a new type of Predator, the Killers, who according to Predator lore do not have the same code of honor as the other Predators. Rather than hunt equally matched opponents, they savor the kill, and have found a way to control Aliens for their own use. Dressed in a style very reminiscent of samurai warriors, they use the aliens as attack dogs.
With an art style that’s decidedly less on the detailed side, the comic has a very rough around the edges look to it. This could work for it in the future, but with as little action as this one has to offer, it makes it difficult to grab the reader’s attention. The few predators that do appear look more like rough sketches than the terrifying creatures they are, and many of the drawings of the humans end up looking amateurish at best.
It’s questionable as to whether or not the franchise was dug up and renewed because of the just-released multiplatform shooter or because of a genuine interest in the characters, but what readers have now is a setup that pretty much leaves the story in the creators’ hands with much uncertainty. And that could turn out to be good thing or bad.
For more info, www.darkhorse.com
Pads and panels received a digital copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.