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I'm a big fan of the Alien franchise. . .movies, comics, novels, video games.  I love it all.  I even love those movies everyone hates (Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Prometheus, AVP. . .).  Did I love this 2009 Dark Horse "Reboot" of the comics end of the franchise?  Read on!

ALIENS

ISSUE 1

What a fantastic opening to this 4 issue mini-series! The excellence starts with the awesome cover and continues inside with the gritty, detailed artwork.

The story is well-written and for such a short space, has several twists. Starting with a prologue throwing us right into Alien action, then twisting to show that takes place sometime in the future of the story. THEN we follow one character through most of the issue, assuming she's the main character. Nope. . .twist again as she's gunned down later on. THEN we're introduced to the actual main character at the very end in another twist as he claws his way up from a mass grave. Very well done!

If I have one complaint about this issue, it's the design of the Aliens. They aren't the sleek black Xenomorphs I was expecting (and featured on the outstanding cover). They are reddish in color and have odd bumps and tusks. The artist draws them well, but it's just strange.

Other than that, I couldn't ask more from an opening issue. Mystery, action, plot twists. . .let's hope the quality keeps high on this one.

ISSUE 2

Another fantastic issue. The art continues to really impress me and once again, the story takes several twists that just make me want to keep turning the page.

First we find out the identity of the true main character, then we find out he's the Alien franchise's favorite ex machina (literally), an android. Then we find out that there's something MORE than "just" Aliens on this world. . .something that plays with the minds of humans and controls them. THEN we find out that the people that need rescuing are the ones that killed everybody (almost) in the first issue, but they don't remember any of it except as a dream. 

Once again, lots of plot twists in a little space. I really liked it. I only really have two complaints. . .first, the cover is decent, but not really that good. The second, I mentioned above. . .the Alien franchise over-reliance on android ex-machinas to carry a story. Too convenient. Too often. That doesn't make it a bad story, I just rolled my eyes a bit when it was revealed that once again, an android saves the day. Stop it, Dark Horse. Just. . .stop.

ISSUE 3

Although still pretty damn good, I didn't like this issue as much as the previous two. The artwork is still stunning as the action (and gore) kicks up a notch when David and the miners he has teamed up with are attacked by Aliens.

The problem I have with this issue is the same one I had with the last, but magnified even more in this issue. . .the ex machina of the android in almost every situation. His "systems" can lead them to their lost member, Andrea. His "systems" can call down and remotely pilot the orbiting ship. His "systems" allow him to target and kill Aliens with relative ease (even though he introduces himself as a science model). And a main plot element is how his "systems" have been damaged to the point that he no longer is compelled to protect humans and at the end he hallucinates because of his damaged "systems". It just seems like a bit too much.

But like I said, that doesn't make it BAD, just a bit of an overused plot device. I did like the flashback scenes where the discovery of the mysterious alien (not Alien with a capital A, but something else that hasn't been revealed yet) is told about, but there are still plenty of questions I hope are wrapped up in the final issue. . .

ISSUE 4

I have to say that this was a pretty disappointing ending to this series. After an extremely strong opening 2 issues, the story went a bit downhill. Not a complete slide off the rails by any means. It was still decent, and the art remained of fantastic quality through the whole thing. . .it's just that the ending didn't really resolve anything. It's less of a "The End" and more of a "To Be Continued".

This issue was pretty much all out action as the android, David, and the small group of miners under his protection fight their way out of the alien (small a) city and are relentlessly attacked by Aliens (big A) on the way back to his ship. Yeah, they escape after losing a few members along the way, but that's not where the disappointment comes from.

One of the miners breaks away from the group because he (sort of rightly) doesn't trust a damaged android to lead them to safety. He returns to the heart of the alien city and we see him pretty much worshipping some sort of giant glowing alien (small a) being that has no resemblance to the Aliens (big A). Then. . .nothing. It's like this whole mini was a prologue to another story. 

It left a lot of questions unanswered. How could the android, David, dream and hallucinate? Who or what built the alien city? What was the giant glowing being that Red was worshipping? Why are the Aliens different in form and color? So on and so forth. 

I'm not sure if there was a follow-up to this story, but as a stand-alone tale, the ending is no bueno. . .

And there you have it. . .Dark Horse's Aliens 2009 4 issue mini.

Despite an over-reliance on the tried and true android ex machina and an ending that leaves you hanging and wanting more, I really enjoyed this mini.  The art was outstanding in every way, on every page, and in every panel.  The story kept me turning the page, even though the plot twists of the first couple issues took a back seat to action on the back half.  I just wish this would have gone a couple more issues and given a more satisfying ending.

All in all I would definitely suggest this mini for anyone who likes the Aliens franchise.  If you don't like the whole Aliens thing, this mini won't change your mind.  

Next up. . .It's 9 stories in 6 issues! Marvel's 2009 Astonishing Tales.  Be there or be square!


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