Comic Review 88 // Aliens: Omnibus Volume One

Welcome to a very exciting Comic review. Most of you by now must realize that I love the Alien franchise and I have reviewed a lot of comics and books (link) to do with them. Currently, I am attempting to work my way through the Bantam books. In my search to get the next one in the set Genocide, I discovered these comic collection Aliens: Omnibus Volume One. This is the Dark Horse comic company's retelling of the Bantam Books in comic form and this first Volume contains Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum and Female War.

If you have read my reviews of the novels you'll know I rather enjoyed these stories so a chance to see if my imagination matches the artwork was too good to miss out on. If you want to read my reviews of the original material follow these links.

Writer: Mark Verheiden
Illustrator: Mark A. Nelson, Den Beauvais, and Sam Kieth
Commerical Fluff: Dark Horse Comics took the industry by storm with its release of Aliens, a comics series that for the first time captured the power of film source material and expanded its universe in a way that fans applauded worldwide. Now, the first three Dark Horse Aliens series-Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, and Female War-are collected in a value-priced, quality-format omnibus, featuring nearly four hundred story pages in full color. Written by screen and television scribe Mark Verheiden (The Mask, Battlestar Gallactica) and illustrated with consummate skill by Mark A. Nelson, Den Beauvais, and Sam Kieth, Aliens Omnibus Vol. 1 is an essential piece of the Aliens mythos and a great entry point into the storied Dark Horse Aliens library.
Pages: 384
Published Date: July 10th 2007 
Publisher: Dark Horse Book

Review

The first three stories are based on Newt & Hicks from Aliens and their adventures after returning to Earth. The only issue was when Alien 3 came out and killed off Hicks and Newt it messed up this story arc, the easy fix would have been to create an alt-timeline. But instead, they just rename them to Wilks and Billie which is a kind of lazy work. Luckily for this comic series, I don't care.

Story: Outbreak- The first tale originally titled Outbreak (renamed Earth Hive later) is mostly about greed and the stupidity of humans. Hicks and Newt are forced into assisting the Marines and the Company in discovering the Aliens Homeworld and attempting to capture some live specimens. Of course, this does not go to plan. Whilst this is all happening, on Earth an alien Queen is found and a weird-ass cult forms around her and attempts a rescue of her offspring, resulting in aliens spreading across Earth and the downfall of the human race.

Pros/Cons - Artwork is fun if a bit cartoonist. The attempt to call them Wilks and Billie is stupid and I found myself just calling them Hicks and Newt. But overall very enjoyable.

Story: Nightmare Asylum- 
Then comes Nightmare Asylum. My favourite book in the series so far. It rings pretty true to the novel. A crazy Colonel in the far outreaches of space attempts weaponized the Xenos in the hope of using them to retake earth. As per the classic story arc, the Xenos break free and the death toll rises. In this mess, we have Hicks and Billies just trying to survive.

Pros/Cons: Artwork improves for sure and the story is crazy enough to ring true. It fails to show how truly crazy the colonel is though, I feel the novel captures that so well but the comic somehow misses it. Good addition though. Also, the main characters are back to being called Hicks and Newt (not even the comic team can be arsed to keep up the name change).

Story: Female War - Earth is gone, Ripley is back and Queen Mother of the Xenomorphs is calling. Here we get to enjoy a classic bug hunt mission. Lots of blood, gore, guns and nukes. Take it at face value and you will enjoy it, overthink it and you won't. 

Pros/Cons: Though truthful to the book I feel it didn't capture the essence of the Dreamers or the creepy nature of Alien Homeworld. A few too many misses.

One-Shot:

Story: Theory of Alien Propagation -
Moving away from the novels for a couple of one-shots. The first attempts to explain how and why Aliens exist. It's only a few pages long and adds no real depth to anything, it is just Dark Horse filling some pages.

Story: The Alien - Humanity is forced to deal with the Alien being I believe is called an Engineer. They hope to get its assistance in destroying the final pockets of Aliens of Earth. Well, that's the official story anyway. What actually happens is an assassination attempt made by a group of androids that ultimately succeeds and kills the Engineer and blows up his ship. Earth is now safe from Terraforming, just have the bugs left to clean up. Bit of a pointless tale that does have a few surprises.

The whole omnibus is an okay read at best. I preferred the novels more as they were able to convey more depth into the story arc that 1980/90's comic artwork just can't give you. They definitely should have just claimed alt-timeline rather than attempting the whole pointless name changes. But ultimately a fun read and a great story-driven addition to the Aliens story family - but please read the novels over this collection.

As always thanks for reading and drop me a comment below.


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