Dark Horse continues its omnibus series with the second volume in the Aliens series. Unlike the dÃ©but omnibus, Volume 2 is made up of only three series. This is due to the fact that this volume contains the somewhat infamous Colonial Marines. This omnibus sees the comic collected for the first time and takes up half of the book and as such there are no shorts in this volume. Let’s getting cracking shall we.
After a generation of rebuilding in the wake of Alien infestation, athletes from every corner of earth are flocking to the Goodwill Games. But some come with a dangerous new tool: a drug called Fire, distilled from the very essence of the Aliens’ body chemistry. The military wants it. The pharmaceutical conglomerates want it. And the only place the essential ingredient can be found is on a world convulsed by Alien holocaust . . .
Genocide was always one of my favourite novels. The very basis of the story interested me greatly and that’s what I found to be the strongest point. The basic motivation of the mission is pretty damn standard and simple. It’s the interaction and fallout from the destruction of the Queen Mother where this comic shines.
Genocide introduced some very interesting aspects of the EU Aliens mythos. These being the different breeds and the royal jelly. What was of special interest to me was how the Aliens separated into different groups upon the destruction of the Queen Mother(Female War).
A lot of Genocide’s interesting aspects are the Aliens focused ones. The way the different Aliens interact with each other and by interact, I mean rip each other to shreds. Being released before Alien3, Genocide was the first glance into the process of how a Queen was made. It also explores how humanity recovers from the Alien infestation.
The Royal Jelly aspect was really cool. I liked how the writer explored how human greed would even go as far as using the body of its enemies to further investment. Character-wise I think Grant is one of the better comic characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. His evolution throughout Genocide is one of the better I’ve seen in a Dark Horse comic. It’s a pretty interesting comic that’s just let down slightly by it’s poor colouring.
Stanislaw Mayakovsky once wrote a book about the cybernetic ant he designed to infiltrate an Alien hive in order to gain precious knowledge about the species. Now, a beautiful young thief has approached Mayakovsky to use his experience and expertise — not in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, but in the pursuit of the Alien Queen’s precious jelly. The mission is a perilous one, but the motives are compelling . . .
Harvest…Harvest…a comic that tries to be too big for it’s boots. It has a potentially complex and interesting story that just doesn’t work in comic form. It has these characters who could be so deep but they just can’t seem to jump off the page with the limits of the comic format.
Unfortunately, I just found that Harvest couldn’t get quite there. The artwork gave it this very moody and dark feeling but the portrayal of the Aliens just wasn’t good. I would recommend getting the novelization though.
Meet Lt. Joseph Henry; the son of one of the most influential politicians on Earth, a proud member of the Colonial Marines, and a poor slob in a heap of trouble. Lt. Henry, after yet again being charged with insubordination, is put in command of a platoon of the absolute worst Marines in the sector and assigned the lowest detail in the corp — checking up on a toxic waste dump! What Lt. Henry and company don’t know is that this mission is about to go from bad to worse, because a strangely organized batch of Aliens has taken over the waste dump!
I think the best way I could possibly describe Colonial Marines is as an adaptation of the missions you used to play out with your Kenner toys when you were a kid. It feels very much like a comic in every sense of the word but for some reason it feels like it belongs to Aliens well and truly. I put this down to the entire Kenner feel of the comic. I can see this as being one of those comics they included with their figures.
I’m not saying this is bad though. I found Colonial Marines a great ride. One of the major story elements might not resonate with some readers as it’s not something that would go down well with serious Aliens media. I’m not going to spoil it but in my opinion it really fit in with the style of the comic. The artwork enhanced that feeling as well. It wasn’t the sort of dark and moody style art you’d expect but that colourful art that you always associate with the Kenner figures. Not everyone will like Colonial Marines, that’s for sure. You’ll either enjoy it or despise it.
Overall I feel like this comic was somewhat of a let down from the first volume. Genocide and Harvest that stories trying to be too big for their format without the artwork to support it and Colonial Marines…well, like I said, that wont be everyone’s cup of tea. Unfortunately I’m going to have to give Aliens Omnibus Volume 2 a 2.5 out of 5.