Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Andrew Mutti
Release Date: August 10th, 2016
After a couple of issues of teased potential, the forward momentum of the “Prometheus” portion of Dark Horse’s Life and Death event is derailed in spectacular fashion here.
While the idea of having the survivors from the previous Fire and Stone event joining up with our current crop of bland protagonists initially filled me with excitement, there’s absolutely nothing here that comes anywhere close to capturing any of the dynamism that these characters previously displayed. Galgo, Fire and Stone’s “shitty Han Solo” (copyright Kelly Sue DeConnick) now feels like just another generic soldier, and Foster has also seemingly had all of the energy and sass drained out of her between the last event and this one.
It also doesn’t help that essentially nothing happens in this issue. Yes, another Engineer shows up, something you can tell is going to happen just by looking at Dave Palumbo’s stunning cover, but the bulk of the issue seems to be made up of recapping the events of both the Fire and Stone event and the “Predator” portion of the Life and Death event. There’s no character development, no real changes to the story itself (other than “oooh, two Engineers!”) and we end things with the survivors still screwed, still desperate to get off the planet, and still beset on all sides by killer beasties.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the writer himself. I love love love Dan Abnett’s work. In fact, that might be one of the main reasons why this issue was such a disappointment – the knowledge that Abnett is capable of so, so much more than this. The new characters are flat and derivative, the pre-existing characters are handled like blunt instruments, and the story itself – as I mentioned above – is all but non-existent.
About the only thing that manages to save this issue from being a complete bust is the artwork of Andrea Mutti, whose detailed, expressive style works wonders with both the Engineers and the Xenomorphs. The human characters fare a little less well, it has to be said, with some repetitive facial expressions and a slight lack of urgency to certain scenes, but overall there’s an impressive aesthetic at play here that, while not exactly groundbreaking, still manages to perfectly capture the desolate desperation of LV-223.
Overall then, this feels very much like a filler issue where the plot developments, such as they are, could easily be obtained by the reader simply glancing at the front cover. There’s also an unmistakable feeling that we’ve seen everything here before, and with the inclusion of the Fire and Stone characters only serving to highlight just how much more exciting and dynamic the previous shared universe event was, I’m sure I’m not along in saying that it’s about time Life and Death finally shook itself out of the doldrums and actually started living up to its incredible potential.
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