Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Release Date: 26th November 2014
What with the constant back-and-forth bickering between teacher Genevieve Dione and surly ‘Wildcatter’ Nolan Cane, the actions of the increasingly insular and paranoid engineer Derrick Russell, not to mention the hostile, mutated landscape and swarming Xenomorph threat – it’s safe to say that the Hadley’s Hope survivors aren’t faring all too well in this particular strand of Dark Horse’s ‘Fire and Stone’ web. Well, in this penultimate chapter, things actually find themselves going from bad to worse – if such a thing is even possible – with events rapidly spiralling out of control as the mysterious ‘accelerant’ is brought into play.
Patric Reynolds’ artwork bleeds horror through practically every panel, managing to make even the most ‘unconventional’ character design (check out the preview artwork below to see what I mean) appear deeply unnerving. His style looks rough, hazy almost, which adds a deeper sense of dread to the proceedings, particularly when the blurry, frenzied movement of the Xenomorphs suddenly snaps into focus in one particularly haunting close-up shot.
Once again Roberson opts to keep the story relatively simple here, refusing to clog things up with pointless twists or needless exposition. This is a story about survival. A story about these engineers and scientists trying their best to hold out for as long as they can against their seemingly unstoppable assailants. In a lot of ways, it’s the sickening inevitability of this particular arc that makes it so compelling. Deep down, we know that the humans really don’t stand a chance, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s merely a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ they are wiped out completely.
Each of the arcs in the Fire and Stone event continues to stamp their own unique mark on the overall story, and the crushing horror of this series pushes it right to the top of the reading pile every month. This is ‘Aliens’ distilled down to its purest form, with Roberson and Reynolds each displaying a firm, confident grasp of precisely what makes these creatures so utterly terrifying. Essential reading for fans of the franchise, fans of horror, fans of sci-fi or just plain ol’ comicbook fans. Captivating stuff from beginning to end, and I really cant wait to see how this particular arc wraps up in a few weeks time.
Don’t forget to check out our Dark Horse: Fire & Stone Review and Interview Hub for all of our coverage of this event in one place.
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