Aliens: Fire and Stone #2

Aliens: Fire and Stone #2

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Patric Reynolds
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Cover Artist: David Palumbo

Now that’s a horror cover. You have a terrified victim screaming through a window as the monsters strike and another person holding an axe for last ditch self-defense. There’s suspense, fear, danger and anticipation. Whatever lurks inside, artist David Palumbo knocked the cover for Aliens: Fire and Stone #2 out of the park.

This issue starts off with Russell, and for the most part, it sticks with him as the primary character. While Genevieve and Nolan argue over the best way for the survivors to survive on this hellish moon, Russell is being observant. He sees the wonders of the planet, it’s mysterious, unexpected jungle, and the possible explanations. Upon discovering one of the flying probes from the movie Prometheus, he’s able to learn more about the moon’s secrets. It sparks a desire in him to find out more.

While Russell’s storyline is the most action packed, it does do a lot to develop the character. He’s a likable guy. He seems sensible, but not too crazy. He’s not out to get the black goop and start experimenting on people. Rather, he’s just trying to solve some puzzles while he’s marooned in an alien landscape.

Adding some action to the comic, there are some alien attacks here and there. Oddly enough, the aliens are somewhat downplayed. Whenever they attack, they take out two or three people, but the group manages to escape. As time passes, they get better at avoiding the aliens and imminent death, but the aliens are always there, and death always follows. It’s just not a complete massacre.

As such, this issue takes place over a two month time period showcasing the group’s struggle for survival and Russell’s investigation into the Engineers and their terraforming. Their numbers slowly dwindle, but they live on. Aside from Russell, the other characters don’t make much progression. Geneive and Nolan just have the same argument over and over–should we fight the aliens or stay put and build defenses? All in all, it’s not the most exciting or riveting issue, but I like what they did with Russell, and hopefully that will pay off as the series progresses.

The interior art isn’t as stunning as the cover, but it gets the job done. It’s a dark, gritty style that goes light on the detail and heavy on shadow. The characters and monsters are portrayed well and each is recognizable. The panel layouts complement the story and help bring everything to life. It doesn’t raise any bars but it also doesn’t hurt the eyes. Quite simply, it works. In fact, it works really well when the scenes involve a lot of darkness, like the giant face of an engineer cloaked in shadow. That was easily my favorite panel in the who comic. A nice iconic shot that looked good and made me pause to study the art and the subject matter. The engineers really do look a lot like humans when cast in shadow.

In the end, I give Aliens: Fire and Stone #2 a solid three out of five metal bikinis. It’s not above average, but it’s not terrible either. There’s some nice character development, the art isn’t too bad, and there’s some action tossed in to keep things moving. However, pitting alien xenomorphs against some normal humans isn’t much of a fight. The first Alien movie was great because Ripley was a badass and there was just one alien going through the ship and slowly taking people down one-by-one. It was an imminent, lurking threat, but not an insurmountable one. Aliens, on the other hand, had Colonial Space Marines, which oozed cool and kicked all kinds of ass. Fire and Stone, however, is a lot more like Alien 3. There’s no space marines, and the magic of the first film just isn’t quite there. The best thing they’ve got going is the tie-in to Prometheus, but I’m still waiting to see if they can make it pay off.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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