Review – Aliens: Fire and Stone #2 (of 4) (Dark Horse Comics)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Release Date: 29th October 2014
We’re back to the beginning of Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone event, chronologically at least, with the second instalment of Chris Roberson’s Aliens arc. After the frenzied scramble for survival in issue one, things settle down slightly here, giving us an opportunity to learn a little more about our human protagonists. The bulk of the narrative is carried by scientist Derrick Russell and his discoveries which tie directly into the events of the Prometheus movie. Serving as a backdrop to his investigation is the perpetual arguing between ‘Wildcatter’ Nolan Cale and teacher Genevieve Dione, with the former advocating an all-out assault on their Xenomorph attackers and the latter encouraging a more survival-oriented approach. Each of the main players is simply defined (something of a necessity within the relative confines of a four-part story) but none of them come across as one-dimensional caricatures; a true testament to the strength of Roberson’s writing.
Interestingly, this particular issue covers the span of several months as we see the Hadley’s Hope survivors gradually adjusting to the horrors of their new environment, desperately finding new ways to try and stay one step ahead of their Xenomorph stalkers. Artist Patric Reynolds does a stellar job with this, beautifully conveying the weariness and broken spirits of the crew with his typically scratchy visuals. He also continues to do a fantastic job with the Aliens themselves, taking these truly horrific creations out of their usual cramped corridors but losing none of their inherent menace in the process. The unpredictability of their attacks is the main source of the horror here, with pretty much nowhere being safe from the next frenzied killing spree. He also cuts loose with a chilling final panel that all but ensures that things are going to get much, much worse before all’s said and done.
It’s becoming somewhat predictable – in a good way, of course – just how good this Fire and Stone event is becoming. Each arc serves as a fond love letter to the source material, but each creative team has also made sure that they’ve added something new to the proceedings, preventing things from feeling forced or re-hashed. I’m honestly finding it difficult to remain impartial and find things to criticise about these comics, such is the quality of what I’m reading, and in spite of adopting a somewhat slower pace in this particular issue, Aliens: Fire and Stone loses none of its innate sense of ‘haunted house’ horror along the way. Highly, highly recommended.
Don’t forget to check out our Dark Horse: Fire & Stone Review and Interview Hub for all our coverage of this momentous event in one place.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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