Review: Prometheus: Life and Death #2

Based on the movie of the same name, the Prometheus comics aim to build upon the lore of the life-giving Engineers and the life-taking Xenomorphs (they’re the aliens with the funny mouths and acid blood from the Aliens movies for those not up on their terminology).  And this issue picks right up where the previous one left off, our Space Marines / cannon fodder are being taken against their will to an alien world by one of the Engineers they accidentally revived last issue.  All we know of this world is that it goes by the name LV-223, but I’m sure we can all guess there’s more to the story here, right folks?

The oddly shaped horseshoe ship crashes, the Engineer and joy riding crew leave, but are being watched from afar.  Now here’s my first problem with this book, the dialogue is just terrible, it’s so prometheus 2cliche and typically soldierey (that’s a word honest…).  It only gets worse when the Marines start arguing amongst themselves about the next best course of action: hunt for food, activate the rescue beacon, get eaten and impregnated by giant acid-fuelled no scratch that last one…

In an attempt to balance the tone, one of our Space Marine entourage, who for some inexplicable reason looks rather like Walter White from Breaking Bad; pontificates on the origin of life and the potential role these Engineers played in it.  As the group continues to explore the planet surface, much to the alarm of the onlookers I might add, the banter only gets worse and once the predictable battle starts it simply devolves into parody.



This is the type of cerebral dialogue we can expect from our lot when everything is on the line.  The reason this annoys me is that rather controversially, I actually loved the Prometheus movie.  Its story offered so many tantalising possibilities to ponder, it made you think about our origins, our place in the world, our place in the universe even.  I guess if you like soldiers sounding like brash, brainless half-wits then you might enjoy this issue (and the previous one) but otherwise you might be a little disappointed.

Even the art from Andrea Mutti doesn’t quite make up for the narrative shortcomings, some panels look quite nice but personally I didn’t like the rendering of the Engineers.  They were an awesome sight on screen and this style just doesn't quite do them justice, a real shame. I think more could have been shown of this world too, what good is being on an alien planet if we don’t get to see it?  Still, Rain Beredo’s colours bring a vivid grittiness to the art which helped capture the mood quite well.

Things plunder along at a fairly obvious, unsurprising pace: soldiers get attacked by aliens, onlookers come to their rescue, etc etc etc...Sure the action panels are quite good but they were all flash and no substance.  I don’t feel any closer to these characters and don’t particularly care what happens to them.  In fact I’m more interested in what the Engineer is doing!  Perhaps that’s the draw of the comic, oh and there’s a nice little reveal on the last page too that might make some fans excited.  Unfortunately though I don’t think any of this makes the comic worthy of your time.  I echo the message of my fellow Comic Bastard reviewer and suggest you leave this one and pick up one of the many other fine examples of comic sci-fi instead.

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Prometheus: Life and Death #2
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Price: $3.99
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital