Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 Review

Posted by Corporal Hicks on February 2, 2010 (Updated: 22-Sep-2017)

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 ReviewI’m finally getting around to filling the gaps in my omnibus collection and next up for review is Aliens Volume 5. Volume 1 was a brilliant start to the series with strong entries along the way ending in the equally amazing Volume 6. Is 5 going to stand up alongside those as a must-by for Aliens fans?

Alchemy
Toch’s a second-generation survivor, born of a transport crew that crash-landed on a deserted, backwater planet. He may have discovered a means of getting off the mudball, but he’s also discovered another impediment — the deadly cargo the ship was carrying!

Alchemy wasn’t a story I was very familiar with – much of Volume 5 are comics I only know the name of. Alchemy is written by John Arcudi, the man behind Dark Horse’s relaunch of the Alien and Predator series. I loved the Aliens series. He took the relaunch in a new direction instead of retreading old ideas. How does it fare with Alchemy though?

I’m not too sure what to think of Alchemy to be honest. From the offset, the reader is aware something is wrong. Here we are on some distant planet where the town is caught in the tensions between officials and religious zealots; and it’s all over the ever-useful discovery of iron and the subsequent smelting plant.

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 Review

As the comic progresses, the story unravels and the back story of the colony is revealed, it gets interesting. The problem is I don’t care about any of the characters. Not a single one resonates with me. The two female leads merged together in my mind. The crazy religious antagonist bored me – The religious aspect can be over-played in Aliens media.

Richard Corben and John Pound’s artwork doesn’t particularly add much to the experience either. Pound’s colouring, in particular, let down the comic tremendously. The colours are flat and bland with no depth of life. There was just no style, no visual draw and considering the visual medium that comic is, that’s not good.

Alchemy has a mildly interesting story but boring, unremarkable characters and equally uninspired artwork drag it down. It isn’t a comic I’d recommend.

Kidnapped
In the dark reaches of the universe lies a remote planet that holds both forbidden pleasures and unspeakable horrors. For three naive smugglers, it’s also a place to unload some deadly cargo: an Alien egg. But, something about this egg is scaring off the black marketers. And when it hatches, the nightmare’s just begun.

I’m at a loss for words at the moment. I can’t get over how truly horrid Kidnapped was. It story swaps focus from idiotic character to yet another equally idiotic. We start with 3 low IQ smugglers who steal a number of eggs to sell. There’s a problem though, a pink egg. The scientists the smugglers sell to just doesn’t want the pink one because there’s something wrong with it. And thus begins our stupid adventure.

Determined not to loose out on any dollar, they sell the egg to a restaurant owner who caters to people with strange and unique tastes – yes, someone tries to eat the egg. The egg is intended for a TV presenter who frequents the restaurant. As luck would have it, this TV presenter is going on a date to a paradise planet owned by a rich and powerful nympho businesswoman. Presenter attempts to eat the egg, is face-hugged. Nympho picks him up next day, feeling pretty rough. They get on the spaceship to the planet and as they’re about to get freaky the presenter gives birth and chest-burster kills the nympho.

Nymphos assistant goes insane, chest-burster massacres the paradise resort and a synthetic general tries to keep everything together. The problem? The pink goop on the egg is also being transmitted by the chest-burster and it’s a deadly toxin. Having already nuked the planet with the crazy restaurant, the army isn’t going to let anyone escape from paradise to transmit the disease.

Wow. It was painful to even type that. Not only is the story ridiculous but the dialogue is atrocious! Cheese after piece of cheese, it was so painful to read. The hideous artwork didn’t help either. I couldn’t read it in one sitting; I had to put it down numerous times. It was just too painful. The only other comic I’ve had to put down because I couldn’t read it was Deadliest of Species which I still haven’t finished to this day: And that’s why we don’t have a review for AvP Volume 2 yet.

I realize Kidnapped was supposed to be a fun story, but this is nowhere near the quality of Herk Mondo. This is simply stupid, an affront to the intelligence of the reader and if I’d have brought this comic, I would have been pissed off something chronic! God-awful!

Survival
Thompson, a geological surveyor on a remote planet, has the perfect life. A loving wife, a son in little league, even a pesky neighbor. The only problem is, Thompson’s life may be all a dream. The reality may be that he’s trapped underground in an escape pod with hours to live. And, creatures with claws and acid blood are pounding on the door . . .

This is more like it! Survival is the story of the lone survivor of an Alien attack. Awaiting his end in a crashed lifepod, a non-linear narrative lets us re-live the prior events through Thompson’s hallucinations and then again with the events taking place as they really happened.

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 Review

Survival makes nice use of the non-linear narrative and uses it to great effect in conveying the emotional and mental state of Thompson. Through his hallucinations and the dialogue, we learn so much about him. I love it when a comic puts great effort into actually creating complex and interesting characters.

As well as that Survival also plays on previous elements of humans wellbeing as usefulness as hosts. Guy Davis and Perry McNamee’s artwork adds more depth to the story as it nicely conveys just how screwed up the situation is. The art isn’t perfect and the style rough but it all adds layer to Survival. I hope the rest of the stories are this good.

Cargo
Cargo is a one-issue short without much going for it. It’s basically about a smuggler who double crosses his buyer and his buyer pays him back with an Alien to hunt him down. The smuggler traps and kills the Alien and then sends his buyer a face-hugger in a suitcase. That’s all there is to it really. It’s not that good. The artwork is extremely colourful and has that Xenogenesis feeling to it. It just doesn’t work for the franchise. Not a particularly brilliant piece.

Alien
I love shorts like this. Alien is about a tribe of primitive extraterrestrials suck with an Alien. Having suffered one too many loses, they go out to hunt it down. Half their party decimated they take refuge in what turns out to be the human ship the Alien came in. They eventually meet the surviving human who takes out the Alien. A young alien hunter fears that the human is going to try and becoming tribe leader…he kills the human. End of story.

Really Alien is all about the kid. He is portrayed from the start as this smart kid who has ambitions. And because we’re reading the comic entirely from their point of view, from their language and can’t understand the human. It helps us not to condemn him for his misunderstandings.

The artwork is simple enough, which parallels the alien culture nicely, using only basic colours. It was a fun read. I wasn’t too keen on the ease in which the Alien was taken out but that’s the comics for you. The ones where they’re truly a thread are few and fair between.

Earth Angel
Into the age of diners, black leather jackets, and Buddy Holly comes a monster worse than any that ever made popcorn fly in front of a drive-in screen — the Alien. Legend creator John Byrne has long been a fan of the Aliens films and he jumped at the opportunity to tell his story of the first Alien invasion, the one that took place in 1950’s suburban America! When you Byrne an Alien, you gotta figure it’s gonna give off some heat!

Earth Angel is as awful as the description makes it seem. “Legend” John Byrne replicates the 50s invasion-from-outer-space feeling very effectively but it certainly doesn’t blend well with the Aliens franchise. You take that effectiveness behind Aliens away when you transplant it into a generic 50’s sci-fi movie.

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 Review

The Alien looks like shit too. Being as the host of the initial Alien is an extraterrestrial pilot the design has to look different, doesn’t it? Well it looks awful. It is designed with big eye-like bulges on the side of it’s head (imagine the pulsating sacks on the Cloverfield monster).

And the characters! Stereotypical bikers, cops and of course, a main character who goes by the name of Dan Ripley! Shock! Earth Angel is one to avoid.

Incubation
What we have here is another lovely short about other worldly being succumbing to the Aliens. Unlike Alien, we’re reliving the encounter through the conjecture of the last survivor of a colony that happened upon the ship. There aren’t any characters to connect to other than the survivor. This is purely a retelling of events. It’s interesting and has good visuals.

Havoc
One incredible story. Forty amazing creators. A hive of deadly aliens. That’s what we call Havoc. Some of the biggest names in comics — including Art Adams, George Pratt, Kelley Jones, Kevin Nowlan, and Kent Williams — illustrate Eisner Award winner Mark Schultz’s story of a haunted space station infested with aliens.

Havoc was a little experiment for Dark Horse, a series illustrated by many artists. Some styles mesh with the franchise fantastically. Some don’t. But the different styles create a visually unique and stimulating experience.

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 5 Review

With the story, Mark Schultz, tried for something different with the research and results of said research. It was certainly different but didn’t over-stretch. I was very fond of the way in which they actually used different perspectives to show the character moving about.

The fact that Havoc is in my Top Ten List should tell you more than enough. Havoc is one to read.

Lovesick
Eleven-year-old Jimi has a crush on his older cousin Nancy, who’s a pilot for creepy Dr. Dakien, who also has the hots for Nancy. Unbeknownst to Nancy, Dakien’s not just creepy, he’s completely mad, and Nancy’s rejection has driven him off the deep end. He’s killed himself to set in motion a plan to go after Nancy and Jimi! Between rescuing Jimi, staving off Dakien’s cybernetic doppelgänger, and battling the aliens Dakien has unleashed, there may not be enough Nancy to go around!

No, just no. Lovesick is a terrible short. The premise is ridiculous. The artwork is equally as boring. Jimi is annoying, Nancy is uninspiring and dull. Lovesick is just plain awful. That’s all there is to it.

Lucky
And bookending Volume 5 is the short Lucky. It’s nothing extraordinary but it’s fun none-the-less and a big step up from the PoS that was Lovesick. Lucky tells the story of salvage captain who accidentally lets some Aliens on board and saves only himself and lies when the marines come to the rescue. It’s an interesting little piece. The artwork is decent enough too but it wasn’t stellar.

I think Volume 5 is the worse entry in the series. While it may have Havoc and Survival, the simply terrible comics in this give off a too powerful stench. For once I can’t recommend this as a must have. I’m just so glad the run didn’t end with Volume 5. I believe a 2 out of 5 is appropriate.

Rating: 2 Stars (2 / 5)
Post Comment

Comments: 0
Sorry, there are no comments

Facebook Twitter Instagram Steam RSS Feed