Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Release Date: 24th December, 2014
The final instalment of the Aliens strand of Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone event serves as something of a departure from the tense survival horror of the previous three issues. With the remainder of the Hadley’s Hope survivors wiped out completely, the focus now falls solely on Derrick Russell, a man whose desperate fight for survival now sees him battling against his own sanity.
I’ll admit to being a little concerned about just how Roberson and Reynolds would wrap this arc up, being that – on paper, at least – it seems to be the most detached from the rest of the event. Thankfully however, instead of trying to force a link that wasn’t previously there, they instead focus on Russell and his increasingly erratic and paranoid behaviour. It’s difficult not to feel for the guy given everything he’s been through, and Roberson perfectly captures Russel’s emotions as he dictates his lonely, desperate thoughts to his silent companion ‘Rover’. There’s definitely an aspect of Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’ here, albeit a Tom Hanks constantly under threat of Xenomorph disembowelment (which, to be honest, is a movie I’d pay to see), and it’s almost impossible not to become drawn into this deeply personal plight which Roberson has created
Once again, artist Patric Reynolds proves to be the perfect choice for the tone of this story, providing a dark, cramped and scratchy approach that only adds to the growing sense of dread that gradually overcomes Russell. His Xenomorphs are used sparingly, fleetingly; all jagged blurs of teeth and claws, and he again displays his truly uncanny knack for visual storytelling during the final pages of this issue. I’ll be honest, Reynolds wasn’t a name I was familiar with at all prior to picking up this series, but his work here has most definitely cemented him in the realm of ‘must see’ artists from now on.
This is a final issue that – in stark contrast to the frantic, panicked threat of the previous three chapters – slows things right down and lets the deep-seated psychological horror of the situation drip from every page. Once again, each of the strands in the Fire and Stone event manages to hit its own unique tone, and once again Reynolds and Roberson combine here to paint a suffocatingly bleak picture that’s likely to linger in the mind of the reader for a long time to come. This is Aliens done to absolute perfection. Take a bow, gentlemen.
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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