Joint Review – Prometheus: Fire and Stone #2 (of 4) (Dark Horse)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Paul Tobin
Artist(s): Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 15th October 2014
Wait, are you still here? Surely those two words alone should be enough to convince you that the latest chapter of Dark Horse’s stellar ‘Fire and Stone’ event is most definitely worth your heard-earned cash. No? Okay then, for those of you who aren’t already convinced (and are, presumably, dead inside), I guess I can go into a little more detail…
After a relatively slow-paced start in issue one, the second issue of Prometheus: Fire and Stone hits the ground running with a frenzied back and forth battle which perfectly encapsulates the sheer terror and chaos that goes hand in hand with a Xenomorph attack. While writer Paul Tobin took his time in the first issue to establish our supporting characters and their mission, here he gleefully dispatches these same characters at an almost dizzying pace, ably assisted by the utterly spellbinding visuals of artist Juan Ferreyra. Seriously folks, Aliens have never looked better, and Juan’s gift for creatively horrific set-pieces gives this book an undercurrent of tension and a visual appeal that few artists these days can hope to touch.
It’s an interestingly structured conflict, given that – due to the events of last week’s AvP: Fire and Stone, which takes place after this arc – we pretty much know what the end destination is for our main characters. However, the journey is still genuinely intriguing, as we get to see the mistakes of the crew playing out before our eyes and find ourselves practically screaming at the pages – “No! Why would you do that?!”. Like a sorority girl creeping into the basement with a flickering torch in a slasher movie, we know that things are definitely not going to end well for the majority these characters, but in a lot of ways, that’s part of the appeal of this series – especially when you know that the spiralling chain of events are going to be illustrated by Ferreyra, who is rapidly becoming my favourite artist of the moment (assuming he isn’t already).
Once again, there’s a lot going on here, but rather than becoming overwhelming, Tobin’s frantic pacing actually adds to the drama of the situation. Menacing new faces are introduced, existing characters are developed and slaughtered in equal measure, and everything gradually starts to tie in to the events of the other series’, not to mention the pre-existing Prometheus movie canon. It’s difficult not to be impressed by the multi-layered world building that the writers in this project have achieved, tying four separate stories into one fluid narrative, and each issue of Fire and Stone I pick up leaves me wanting to find out more, eagerly waiting to get my hands on the next one. Thankfully, with the weekly release schedule of this event for the rest of 2014, it looks like I’m never going to have to wait too long for my next ‘fix’.
And once again, people, in case you’ve forgotten… Xenomorph sharks. Seriously, what are you waiting for?
After kicking off the event as a whole in stunning fashion last time out, Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra follow that up with a breathless second issue, taking a more action-oriented approach to the narrative in the process. Almost immediately, things go south for the salvage team investigating the crashed vessel ‘Onager’, as the hibernating Xenomorph overwhelm the unsuspecting crew. Within the ensuing chaos, we are able to connect some of the dots with regard to the other titles, whilst Tobin expands the scope of his own story.
The issue is a heady mixture of action set pieces, exposition, and character development, but such is the quality of writing, it never becomes overwhelming. A number of plot points are expanded upon; most importantly the relationship between Francis and Elden, whose inevitable conflict was detailed in the pages of the recent AVP title. It was interesting to uncover the events that led to Elden’s horrifying metamorphosis, and the reasons for his animosity towards Francis. We are also introduced to an eerily familiar figure currently lurking in the shadows, who looks set become a major player in the coming issues.
Whenever there is a large cast of supporting characters, there is an inevitable thinning of the herd to narrow the focus the narrative. This process is skilfully handled by lending just enough emotional weight to each sequence. Most of the peripheral characters meet grisly ends at the claws and teeth of a variety of Ferreyra’s magnificently conceived and incredibly detailed Xenomorphs; especially the xeno/shark/ hybrid, which is just jaw-dropping. Honestly, the man must perennially sit behind his desk. Each and every panel in the book is a mini work of art, each one dramatically lit, beautifully shaded, and teeming with detail.
Tobin and Ferreyra have done it again. Perfectly paced, beautifully drawn, and absolutely terrifying.
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