Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #4

Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #4 (of 4)

Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: E. M. Gist

No bones about it, Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #4 is a disappointing end to this chunk of the story. The artwork is truly gorgeous, but it’s not enough to make up for the weak story and dialog. Elden, Francis and the predators all fall short of being likable or sympathetic characters. There’s just no one to root for, no mysteries left to be revealed, and a heap of mindless action, violence and mutation.

For a while now, the story has been struggling to make do with Elden and Francis. On the one hand is Elden the annoying android turned monster who just wants to be friends or kill you. He has a hard time making up his mind. Even the aliens and predators don’t know whether they want to kill him or not. Francis, on the other hand, is just an unlikable guy obsessed with clinging to life. By this point in the story, everyone has become mutated, even one of the predators, and they all try and kill each other. There’s not much more to it than that.

A weak story is one thing, but making matters worse is the terrible dialog. Some of Elden’s lines are cringe worthy and Francis isn’t any better as his mind is slowly deteriorating. The predators and aliens can’t talk, or at least they can’t be understood, so they don’t contribute any to the dialog. Really, the best part of the comic ending is no longer having to hear Elden speak anymore. Elden is presented as a possible sympathetic character due to the way Francis portrays him. Sadly, Christopher Sebela fails to sell that sympathy through the story. Francis’ storyline was tragic, but without anyone to care for, the tragedy just falls flat. The one character I was kind of rooting for was the last, unmutated predator. I was hoping he might make a surprise come back, alas he did not. In the end, the story element of this issue was dud.

That said, there is one saving grace, and that’s the artwork. From the cover to the last page, this issue is beautifully rendered. E. M. Gist does a great shot of the predator, the aliens and Elden in one macabre dance of imminent death and horror. Inside, Ariel Olivetti raises the bar between realism and illustration. The colors are vibrant. The lighting defies the borders of the page, threatening to leap out and attack the reader. Truly, some of the panels look three dimensional. It’s tremendous. Throughout this issue, Ariel gets to depict some really bizarre and gruesome things as the mutated Elden, Francis and predator fight each other with all their arrays of limbs and teeth. I constantly found myself pausing to drink up the artwork. It’s a shame it was saddle with such a lackluster story.

As great as the artwork is, it’s still not enough to save the story. I have to give Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #4 a three out of five metal bikinis. The artwork is a five out of five, but the story is a two at best.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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