Review: Aliens: Life and Death #1

Today I’m taking a look at Dark Horse Comics’ Aliens: Life and Death #1, which is the next in the series of "Life and Death" miniseries written by one of my favorite current writers, Dan Abnett and drawn by Moritat. I’ve only read the Predator book prior to this one, and that was alright, so I decided to have a crack at this one. aliens-life-and-death-1The issue kicks off with Colonial Marines in the middle of a dogfight with some Xenomorphs who have attacked them (or maybe the marines attack them, but I doubt it.) It’s all action from the get go. Pretty much every page is an alien being shot in the fucking face and people being snatched up by aliens from time to time. Plus a little bit of talking about who’s missing and some feels thrown in because one woman on the team is married to another woman who has been snatched by the aliens… I think Prometheus makes an appearance, too (if that was Prometheus.)

As far the writing goes, Dan Abnett doesn’t really bring anything spectacular to this first issue. It’s pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, which is forgivable as there’s not a lot you can do with these aliens - the stories in all of these Aliens books follow a pretty basic formula. All you have to do for an Aliens book is show the aliens killing people off one by one, then have the remaining humans plot how they’ll kill the aliens or escape from them and then have the humans kill the aliens or escape the aliens somehow… It’s a series you can "churn out and fuck off early" on. Great books if you like Aliens a lot, not so much if you’re looking for something different. I’m not going after Abnett here; he’s just doing his job, and I know he’s a great writer.

For Moritat’s art in this issue, I’m not a big fan of how he draws the aliens. They’re all shaky and fucked up. His humans look fine, but I’m not reading the book to see humans. The opening page is horrendous. It’s a splash page of badly drawn aliens running towards the marines (who’re off panel.) For some reason, it looks to me like the aliens' arms are fucked, it’s like he forgot to draw the forearms or something and just elongated the hands. These arm-hands look like tree trunks… So, yeah, the aliens aren’t great. Humans are okay.

Overall, not a great issue but if you’ve come this far in the "Life and Death" series, you’ll probably want to finish reading it. You’re nearly at the end of it all. If you’re thinking about coming into the series late, I wouldn’t choose to pick this issue up first. Try the Predator: Life and Death mini and go from there.  Obviously, if you’re a die-hard Aliens fan you won’t give a shit what I say, and you’ll buy it anyway. And that’s what makes these licensed books work and that’s why they’ll keep printing ‘em.

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Aliens: Life and Death #1 Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Moritat Colorist: Rain Beredo Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-series; Print/Digital