Aliens Omnibus Volume 6 Review

Posted by Corporal Hicks on February 12, 2009 (Updated: 26-Jan-2015)

 Aliens Omnibus Volume 6 ReviewIt’s been just under two years now since Dark Horse released their first Aliens Omnibus and the time has just flown by. We’re finally at Volume 6, which is the last Aliens volume to be released before Dark Horse began releasing their brand new Alien (and Predator) comic series’ in the coming months, and if my initial flicking through the pages is any indication, we’re in for a treat:

Apocalypse: The Destroying Angels
Is it a coincidence that humans have met Aliens in our far future? Or is there something sinister unfolding in the universe that prefigures the Aliens on an almost unfathomable scale? This is what Alecto Throop is asking. Throop is a deep-space rescue specialist cut from the same cloth as the late Lt. Ellen Ripley: tough, smart, beautiful and instinctual. But her instincts weren’t enough to warn her of her latest mission. She’s about to find out that even a fight with deadly Aliens is nothing compared to meeting their masters . . . or the renegade human that has learned their secrets.

Destroying Angels is one of those gems of a comic. I can remember back to when I started AvPWorld and was relatively new to the franchise (compared to how I know it today) and I was eager to learn more about this wondrous EU thing that fleshed everything out. That was when I learnt about Destroying Angels.

The entire comic series revolves around the mysterious Space Jockey race and I wanted it. I longed for it. I needed it! So after months of waiting on Amazon to deliver it, I finally got hold of it. I wasn’t disappointed then, and I sure as Hell ain’t disappointed this time around..

This is easily one of the best Aliens comics. Doug Wheatley and Chris Chuckry created some truly terrific artwork. Every little detail is perfect. From the Jockey city (the original breast inspired Giger silo makes me smile) to the Aliens themselves – I can fault none of it.

The story is extremely engaging. The promise of new knowledge of the Jockeys keeps you turning the pages. The theme of religion is heavily played upon (Geholgod and Angels) and it carries the story along nicely. There are some questionable elements in the story, such as the – for a lack of a better word – Alien repellent, but I found none of them detracted from the story too much.

Destroying Angels is a must read and makes the volume worth buying on its own. Truly amazing.

Once in a Lifetime
This is a short that follows on from Destroying Angels. The black and white gives it a style similar to other Sci-Fi comics at the time (specifically thinking of the black and white Stargate comics). Its style is unique in the Aliens comics, especially the way in which the characters are drawn.

Story wise it doesn’t really go anywhere. The usual twists and turns associated with the Alien stories – surprise synths and random company involvement – are all there, but like its predecessor, it does go for fleshing out the Aliens.

On the whole, Once in a Life Time proposes a rather interesting notion on the Alien adaptability. It’s a pretty looking short with interesting ideas about the Aliens.

Xenogenesis
This is it: the future of Aliens starts now with Xenogenesis! In the distant future, the existence of the horrific Aliens is no longer a secret. Now, with space colonies scattered throughout the galaxy, a mega-corporation has formed a strike force to take the offensive against the monsters. For the first time, humanity has a fighting chance!

I’ll probably get shot for this but I enjoyed it! I’ve seen so much bitching and moaning about the Xenogenesis series, and while there are some aspects of the comic that reek of cheese, over all, I thought it was good.

From the artwork, you can tell Dark Horse was trying to modernize the series. It looks a lot like the newer Spiderman and X-Men stuff in style, but the Aliens are drawn fantastically. You could really tell they wanted to bring the series into a new era.

On the other hand, some of the elements just don’t work. The idea behind the suits was fantastic (glass helmet to protect from Face-Huggers) but the over-all look of it creates a very retro cheesy feeling which isn’t where the series needed to go.

The characters are nicely written with development and growth throughout, which is always a fresh change as far as I’m concerned. So…yeah, awesome art, cool characters but some corny ideas.

Headhunters
Now this one-off  is a visual beauty the likes of which ain’t ever been seen in Aliens. It is entirely pencilled with a similar flair to Predator: Hell and Hot Water. It is absolutely gorgeous. I personally found myself gripped by the non-linear narrative and was able to connect with the characters in a way not expected in a short. Bloody fantastic.

Tourist Season
Awful. No other word suits this comic. It is just an awful idea. It may work for Firefly but not Aliens. A Western-themed colony, complete with its own sheriff, battle it out with boxy-headed Aliens. Tourist Season is an ungainly blemish on an otherwise beautiful and interesting volume.

Pig
Stitch and his band of space pirates have designs on looting the wreckage of a crashed ore tug before the rightful owners can arrive to salvage the valuable cargo. The problem: a nest of Aliens has set up housekeeping near the wrecked tug. Stitch’s solution: a cute little pig carrying a low-yield nuke wired to a remote detonator. Not since Babe has so much rested on the outcome of a porker’s performance. How about a little bacon with your Alien eggs?

Most people know vaguely about this one-off. The cover is quite notorious. I have to say I laughed when I finished this. It was funny. The artwork is hideous but when taken within the context of the story it works incredibly well. A fun little short.

Border Lines
One of the first things that came across was the way the stylish art made me think of Vietnam. Which was what Aliens was – Vietnam in Space. The artwork really resonated with me because of this and I’m quite sure it was intentional. The story isn’t much but it’s a good read.

45 Seconds
I think this is the best Aliens short. Simple enough story: escape timed explosion. This certainly isn’t an unfamiliar plot device to Alien fans, but the artwork is simply extraordinary. I realise I keep saying this but the artwork is getting better and better. 45 Seconds is another strong entry in this amazing volume.

Elder Gods
When I think things couldn’t get any better I’m handed Elder Gods. As you probably already guessed, it deals with Aliens and religion. In fact, it reeks mostly of H. P. Lovecraft, to the point where the cult worships the work of one Horrace Lovelace and worships the god Tutilu.

But it’s cool! Where else do we get Alien temples? Kinda reminded me of the Alien campaign in AvP1. Accompanied by some moody black and white art, this obviously Lovecraft influenced short is a fantastic read.

Purge
Sybaris 503 is on the verge of a major breakthrough. They’ve discovered that hosts infected with leprosy have a longer-than-normal gestation period for Alien chestbursters. Before they can understand why, their funding runs out, and the “corporate financial liquidators” are sent in to seize all assets. Including the human hosts. But they’ll have to go through Eloise to get them.

This one was kinda different. I always expected it to be very similar to Labyrinth and those sorts of stories but it was a very different piece. It’s very character based with some interesting expansions on Alien science, specifically the leprosy thing. Even more interesting, is the growing of synthetics using Alien DNA.

It’s not an overly pretty comic but it is very interesting, expanding on how relationships between the Aliens and humans can change depending on the circumstances. All in all, a good read.

Glass Corridor
Frank is a hired killer with a problem. His conscience has caught up with him and now he’s running from himself and his past. In his effort to escape, he encounters a band of stowaways who may provide him with the means for his redemption. When the freighter they are traveling on is threatened by an Alien, it appears that Frank is their only hope for survival.

Glass Corridor is a very interesting piece. It’s very character-orientated, focusing on Frank and his internal turmoil. It’s the kind of character focus you don’t normally see in an Aliens comic and a very welcome focus at that. Mix in turmoil with some really moody artwork and you’ve got yourself a fantastic comic.

Stalker
In a time of myth, when Vikings ruled the land, when their berzerker rage went unmatched by anyone who opposed them. In this fierce and merciless time, the legendary warrior Rainulf the Wraith-Stalker is summoned by the granddaughter of a dead king to best a deadly enemy. But this enemy is unlike anything Rainulf has ever faced. In the dense, cold mists of this ancient land hides an invincible creature born of the Underworld — with iron skin, dagger teeth, and blood that burns stone — known in the far-flung future as an Alien.

This is a surprising one. I’ve never really thought of the Alien franchise as flexible in it’s ability to tell stories in different times the same way that Predator has. So I didn’t particularly have high hopes for this. An Aliens story set in the Viking times? Yeah right. Next please.

“Sure looks pretty though” fluttered through my mind as I leafed the pages to take a peak at the art. So I settled down and read this little adventure of a group of Vikings hunting an Alien.

It was awesome. During your first reading you can be a little sceptical but after finishing it and the twist being revealed to you, the comic is actually really cool the second time through. Definitely another solid staple in this strong omnibus.

Wraith
On Earth, or in the dark reaches of space, teenagers are concerned with one thing: meeting other teenagers. It’s no different for Roarke, the latest arrival to the off-world agri-colony of Tirgu-Mires. He’s making new friends fast, particularly with a young girl named Hope. But there’s more to this farm colony than Roarke first suspected. Every town has a dark secret not spoken in the light of day. Tirgu-Mires’ secret just happens to have sharp teeth, acid blood and a murderous hunger for human flesh.

Wow. What an amazing story to end this stellar volume with – not. I’m sorry but this is just awful. Wraith is a comic full of stupid and annoying teenage characters, mixed in with horrible artwork (the Alien is massive and white). That said, the surprise ending was really cool but not enough to make this entertaining. Awful.

Conclusion
Like Volume 1, Volume 6 is a must-have for Alien fans. It is filled with so many visually beautiful comics plus so many interesting stories. The fact that is has Destroying Angels is more than enough reason for people to buy it. In fact, I think this is the strongest installment yet. Easily a five out of five from me.

Rating: 5 Stars (5 / 5)
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Comments: 1
  1. Have enjoyed your reviews of the Aliens Omnibus’s, hope you’re able to do Volume 3 soon as thats the only review you’re missing so far


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