Review – Alien versus Predator #4 (of 4) (Dark Horse Comics)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Release Date: 14th January, 2014
I’ll fully admit that I went into the final instalment of Dark Horse’s Aliens versus Predator: Fire and Stone with no small amount of apprehension. After a promising start, I rapidly found myself losing faith in the arc as it became increasingly bogged down in mutated, accelerant-boosted monstrosities rather than the horror and drama that seemed to typify the other series’ in this event.
Thankfully however, Christopher Sebela’s strong writing impressively manages to right the ship here – at least to a point – providing a powerful and thought-provoking conclusion to what has been, in my opinion, a bit of a chaotic, mutated train wreck. Unfortunately though, the first part of this issue sadly still falls foul of the same problems that plagued the previous issues, with superficial excess promoted at the expense of the actual story itself.
The action scenes (of which there are many) still remain wholly unsatisfying, mostly due to Olivetti’s artwork which – while undeniably impressive on stationary figures in dramatic poses – really falls apart when it comes to blows being landed or damage being done. I’ve said the same thing in my reviews of the previous three issues, but it bears mentioning again that everything looks just too damn clean in this series, with the unnaturally sterile backdrops and characters creating a truly jarring aesthetic.
Thankfully, once the pace settles down a little in the latter pages of the book, Sebela manages to showcase his gift for high drama as he provides a moving finale to the arc, giving Francis’ story a sense of poignancy and cementing Elden’s place in the shared universe that has been created. I’ll fully admit to perhaps grading this series on something on a curve, bearing in mind how near-flawless the other three arcs in the event have been, but will gladly concede that this finale manages to turn things around enough for it all not to have all been a complete waste of time.
Overall, while never quite managing to hit the heights of the other arcs in this event, Aliens vs Predator: Fire and Stone manages to pull out of its nosedive in this final issue, finishing the series with a slightly bumpy – but still somewhat satisfying – landing.
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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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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